MANTECA — A Tracy man pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of possessing child pornography today in the Manteca branch of the Stockton-San Joaquin County Superior Court.
James Spencer Hagelston, 41, was arrested Feb. 17 after an Internet investigation by the Tracy Police Department. In 2008, he coached a 10-and-under Tracy Express girls, and until Jan. 1, his wife ran a daycare center out of his home.
The San Joaquin District Attorney’s Office filed charges Tuesday against Hagelston. He remains free after posting bail of $100,000.
During today’s arraignment, Claire Van Vuren, a deputy district attorney in the county’s child abuse/sexual assault unit, said Hagelston is employed and uses a computer at work. Judge Ron A. Northup said the computer would be searched.
Hagelston, who appeared in court with his attorney, Mary Ann Bird, works as a technology consultant with California School Management Group, a consulting firm that works with schools throughout California.
His preliminary hearing was set for 8:30 a.m. March 30, also at the courthouse in Manteca.
If convicted of the obscenity charge — Penal Code Sec. 311.11(a) — Hagelston could serve up to a year in county jail or fined up to $2,500, or both.
Detective Nate Cogburn said last month that he identified Hagelston with software that tracks the Internet provider addresses of anyone who downloads child pornography using peer-to-peer file-sharing.
He said police found pornographic movies on his computer depicting girls younger than 10 years old having sex with adult men. The computer was sent to a hi-tech crime lab in Sacramento to be forensically analyzed.
Cogburn said he has 50 people in Tracy under surveillance for swapping child porn. Hagelston has no criminal history, but he was tagged because he is around children, in his job, at home and as a coach, Cogburn said.
"If he didn’t have as much access to children, I might not have arrested him so soon," he said. "But I had to think about the public’s safety."