Metro-East News

No prior complaints about Belleville man charged with having child porn, employers say

Michael Roussel
Michael Roussel Provided

No complaints were filed about a Belleville man, who faces charges of child porn possession, during his employment at Goddard School in Shiloh and the O'Fallon YMCA, according to officials.

Michael Roussel, 23, worked at both the YMCA and Goddard as a martial arts instructor. He also worked as a martial arts instructor at S.I.M.S. Martial Arts and Fitness Academy in O'Fallon, which did not respond for comment and did not say if any concerns had been raised about Roussel.

Roussel was charged Wednesday with seven counts of child porn possession and one count of dissemination of child porn. Belleville Police said their investigation into him started with a suspicious Craigslist post and culminated with police finding child porn images and videos on his electronic devices.

St. Clair County State's Attorney Brendan Kelly said officials have reason to believe the case was still developing.

"We cannot reiterate enough that we strongly encourage anyone who has children who have had contact with this defendant to bring forward any concerns or observations to investigators as soon as possible," Kelly said.

Goddard sent out an email to parents at 12:15 p.m. Thursday, informing them of the situation. Representatives from the school did not respond to a BND request for comment.

"As an organization dedicated entirely to serving and nurturing children, we were shocked by the allegations and we know you are, too," the school said in a memo. "While this individual was a former employee at our school in 2016 and passed his background checks, no one at our school was aware of any inappropriate behavior during his employment or during his employment with Tenth Planet; there were no complaints or concerns raised about inappropriate behavior by this individual."

10th Planet is a jiujitsu program that operates out of S.I.M.S.

Roussel also taught a Karate Kids class for Goddard students, the school said in the memo to parents. The Karate Kids program was suspended due to Roussel's charges, the program announced on Facebook. All auto payments and enrollments were canceled, so participants will not be charged.

Roussel also was a teacher's assistant for children ages 3-6 at Goddard, the school said in its memo to parents. Along with the memo, the school sent information on effective ways to speak to children about the matter.

S.I.M.S did not respond to a BND request for comment, but it posted a statement on Facebook to say that Roussel will no longer be an instructor, nor will he be allowed on the premises.

As a former, part-time seasonal employee at the O'Fallon YMCA, Roussel worked on and off for five years at the YMCA camp, martial arts and child-watch programs, Gateway Region YMCA said in a statement. Roussel went through a background and reference check before he was hired, and the organization never received any allegations against him.

As of Thursday afternoon, Roussel had posted $75,000 for his release on bond and was no longer in the St. Clair County Jail.

Kara Berg: 618-239-2626, @karaberg95

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