A 34-year-old physical education teacher at a Colorado Springs elementary school was arrested Thursday morning on suspicion of internet sexual exploitation of a child after he was identified as a suspect in a sting investigation led by the Durango Police Department.
Joshua Silverthorn, a physical education teacher at Monterey Elementary School, was taken into custody by the Colorado Springs Police Department.
The arrest came after the undercover operation by the Durango Police Department in partnership with the Colorado Springs Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
Silverthorn was arrested on suspicion of internet exploitation of a child, a Class 4 felony.
The Durango Police Department routinely conducts online, undercover operations to identify people interested in having sex with minors.
The investigation leading to Silverthorn’s arrest began in March.
According to a Durango Police Department news release, almost immediately an undercover officer, posing as a 14-year-old girl, was contacted by Silverthorn.
The conversation quickly turned sexual and to sexual acts over the next few months via electronic messaging.
Durango Police Department detectives identified Silverthorn through electronic messages and pictures he sent.
Detectives learned Silverthorn lived in Colorado Springs and contacted the Colorado Springs Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which took over the investigation.
At 6:45 a.m. Thursday, members from the Colorado Springs ICAC Task Force took Silverthorn into custody and conducted a search warrant for his home as well as his place of work.
Colorado Springs ICAC Task Force said in a news release it considers the case an active investigation.
Christine O’Brien, spokeswoman with Harrison School District 2, said Silverthorn had been placed on administrative leave.
The school district released a statement to its staff members and parents that said:
“Harrison School District Two is required by law to inform parents when a staff member has been charged with certain crimes. On Thursday, May 20, 2021, the district was notified by the Colorado Springs Police Department that Mr. Joshua Silverthorn, PE teacher at Monterey Elementary, was arrested. He is charged with internet exploitation of a child, which is a Class 4 felony. All citizens are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, and at this time, no determinations have been made regarding the guilt or innocence of Mr. Silverthorn.”