WINTER GARDEN, Fla. - A 22-year-old man, who is a former middle school teacher with Orange County Public Schools and a former employee with the YMCA, has been arrested after law enforcement allegedly found child pornography on his cell phone, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Ryan Hamil was a teacher at Water Spring Middle School in Winter Garden, Florida, a spokesperson for the school district confirmed to FOX 35 on Friday. He was terminated on Aug. 25 after the district became aware of the law enforcement investigation and the allegations against him. A message was sent to parents that same day, the district said.
"School administration was notified by law enforcement of an ongoing investigation involving one of our employees. Based on the severity of the allegations, the District Office of Professional Standards immediately terminated the employee, who will no longer be on our campus," the principal said in a message to parents on Aug. 25.
It's unclear when Hamil was first hired by the district. FOX 35 has reached out to Orange County Public for clarification and submitted a public records request for Hamil's personnel file.
Hamil was booked into jail on two counts of possession of obscene materials. He remains in jail on a $2,000 bond, according to online jail records.
Photo: Orange County Jail
What we know about the investigation
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, in July 2023, Hamil was met by officers with U.S. Customs and Border Protection following a cruise, where he allegedly admitted to purchasing child sex abuse materials on the so-called "dark web."
He also admitted to taking photos of children while on the cruise, and of taking photos of children at a YMCA Family Center in Winter Garden, where he also allegedly worked, according to FDLE's report.
No criminal charges were filed against Hamil at the time, the FDLE said. It's not immediately clear why.
The YMCA of Central Florida said in a statement that Hamil worked part-time at the YMCA and was fired in August after it learned of the investigation and allegations from law enforcement.
"The individual in question no longer works for the Y and is restricted from all access to Y programs and locations. We will cooperate fully with authorities during their investigation," the statement read.
On Aug. 25, more than a month later, officers with HSI and FDLE went to Water Spring Middle School. Hamil was called to the principal's office where an interview was conducted.
During that interview, Hamil was asked if he had taken photos of any students at the middle school. Hamil said he had not, according to the report.
Hamil also allowed detectives access to his cell phone. Days later, his cell phone was seized and analyzed by law enforcement.
That investigation found two photos of a young girl, possibly 12 years old, according to the report.
Details of those photos were redacted in FDLE's report. However, Hamil was arrested and booked into charges of possession of materials depicting sexual performance of a child.
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Here is the message that the principal of Water Spring Middle School sent to parents on Aug. 25:
"School administration was notified by law enforcement of an ongoing investigation involving one of our employees. Based on the severity of the allegations, the District Office of Professional Standards immediately terminated the employee, who will no longer be on our campus.
"Although I cannot discuss employee matters, please be assured I take all allegations very seriously and we will work closely with investigators.
"Law enforcement may reach out to families in order to obtain statements from students."
Here is the statement from the YMCA of Central Florida:
At the YMCA of Central Florida, there is nothing more important than the safety and well-being of all in our care. We are saddened to learn of the arrest involving a former Water Spring Middle School teacher who is also a former part-time Y employee.
The individual in question no longer works for the Y and is restricted from all access to Y programs and locations.
We will cooperate fully with authorities during their investigation.As a cause-driven community builder serving Central Florida families for over 135 years, the YMCA remains steadfast in our commitment to provide a healthy and safe environment.