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Former teacher asks for bench trial on child porn charges - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Former teacher asks for bench trial on child porn charges

Fernando Rivas (Source: Facebook) Fernando Rivas (Source: Facebook)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - An award-winning composer for Sesame Street and former fine arts instructor at a private school in Charleston has waived his right to a jury trial.

Court records indicate Fernando Rivas' request that a judge consider his case instead was granted Thursday. That trial is set for September.

Rivas pleaded not guilty last year to making child pornography and sending images to other people.

Agents searched Rivas' Ladson home in April 2011 after someone arrested in New Jersey led them to Rivas.

According to an affidavit obtained last November, authorities found child porn on a computer, computer disks and other materials Rivas owned back in April of 2011. Two of the images on the computer showed a 4-year-old girl naked and bound by Velcro restraints in sexually-suggestive positions, the affidavit states.

Court documents indicate that Rivas "did coerce a person under the age of 18 to engage in sexually explicit conduct including the lascivious exhibition of the genitals for the purpose of producing depictions of such conduct."

According to Rivas' website, in 1995 and 1996, he and other composers on Sesame Street were the recipient of two Emmys for his work.   Rivas' website states he began to write for the Children's Television Workshop (now Sesame Workshop) and has written a number of songs for the show Sesame Street featuring singers such as Celia Cruz, Gloria Estefan and Cindy Lauper.

Rivas also worked as a jazz music instructor at Charleston private school Porter-Gaud from 2002 until he left in 2009.

Copyright 2012 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.

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