Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

September 20, 2012

Feds to fight bail for pediatrician facing child porn charges

By Neil Fater
Staff writer

---- — An Andover pediatrician charged with receiving child pornography is expected to learn tomorrow, Friday, if he will remain behind bars while he awaits an indictment.

Richard Keller, 56, of 10 Cyr Circle, was arrested last Thursday after federal agents raided his home and removed from a bedroom more than 500 high-gloss photos and at least 60 to 100 DVDs of child pornography, as well as computers, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Keller has been working as a pediatric endocrinologist at Boston Children's Hospital, as a pediatrics instructor at Harvard Medical School, and at two overnight camps. He moved to Cyr Circle last year, after spending 19 years on the Phillips Academy campus as medical director of the Andover private school's student health center. Phillips Academy said it did not renew his contract in 2011, following several reprimands for inappropriate behavior dating back to 1999.

He lived in Phillips Academy housing during those 19 years, but not with students, said Tracy Sweet, director of academy communications. Sweet said the school had no knowledge of Keller's alleged involvement with child pornography, and are aware of no complaints about him.

Friday, Keller will face a detention hearing.

"The government has told the court that we intend to seek detention. He is considered a danger," said Christina DiIorio-Sterling, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney. "Essentially, the prosecutor told the court this was a behavior he exhibited for decades."

If Keller contests being held in prison while he awaits an indictment that could take up to 30 days, the government will offer evidence in open court it believes proves Keller is a danger to society, said DiIorio-Sterling.

CRIMINAL COMPLAINT

Law enforcement agents became aware of Keller while investigating a movie production company located outside the United States that operates a website selling DVDs and streaming videos, most of which '"feature young minor boys," according to an affidavit in support of the criminal complaint against Keller. After reviewing records in the company's database, officials saw that Keller had made 19 orders between July 2009 and January 2011.

The items were delivered to Phillips Academy's Isham Student Health Center where Keller worked at the time. Keller used two Andover billing addresses, according to the document: the student health center and an Andover P.O. Box that he rented.

The complaint affadavit described a few of the movies that records indicated Keller had purchased, and that were also taken from Keller's home last week.

Keller appeared to spend $179.51 on one of these films, a 2009 movie called "Igor" which among other scenes showed boys under 18 naked in the shower and at a spa, and playing naked Twister.

The document says that Keller bought over 50 separate titles from this company spending more than $2,695.

If convicted, Keller faces a mandatory minimum of five years and up to 20 years in prison per count.

YEARS AT PHILLIPS

The news of Keller's arrest came as a shock in Andover and on the campus of Phillips Academy.

"The school had no knowledge of his alleged involvement with child pornography. Absolutely nothing in his file pertains to that," said Sweet.

In addition to running the health center, Keller was one of several instructors who taught the health and wellness program at the school. He also taught a class for seniors interested in pursuing a career in the medical field.

"He did not live in a dorm. He was a complementary house counselor - which means he assisted in the absence of a house counselor. He had dorm duty from time to time," said Sweet.

A search of Keller's name on the Phillips Academy website showed he was one of four faculty to get a specific grant from the Abbot Academy Association, which pays for dozens of grant proposals each year. The grant to Keller and three others was 'to bring together student members of the Outliers [a student book club] with various faculty for dinner and fellowship."

While Keller spent 19 years as the medical director for a health center that is open 24 hours a day to both day students and those who live in the dorms, his career at Phillips was not without its issues. In the spring of 2011 he was told his contract would not be renewed for the 2012-13 school year.

While the school's contracts run through August, Keller resigned that month, April 2011.

A statement from new head of school John Palfrey, who never worked with Keller, reads as follows: "The reasons for the school’s decision not to renew his appointment involved professional misconduct unrelated to the charges Dr. Keller faces from the US Attorney’s office... In 1999, Dr. Keller was reprimanded for using an academy computer to access pornography involving adult subjects. In 2002, Dr. Keller was reprimanded for showing an inappropriate cartoon to students. Dr. Keller was also cited for poor management and poor judgment, which led the school to place him on administrative probation in 2009. In 2010, Dr. Keller sent an inappropriate voice-mail message to a colleague at the school. Dr. Keller subsequently claimed that the school had discriminated against him. The school investigated Dr. Keller’s claim and determined it to be groundless. Upon conclusion of that investigation, the school informed Dr. Keller that his contract would not be renewed for violating his administrative probation."

EARLY MORNING RAID

For about a year, Keller has been living at Cyr Circle with a longtime female companion, a Phillips Academy teacher of Japanese, and the couple have a son who is about 1, according to several people who know them. She was in court when Keller entered his not guilty.

Federal agents arrived at Keller's home at 7 a.m. last Thursday, Sept. 13.

"They were there until 11 p.m. They were going through the house," said neighbor Mary Carbone. "Since '76 I've been living there. I never thought – well, nothing ever has happened like that."

The arrest brought to mind for many longtime Andover residents former Phillips Academy English teacher David Cobb, also known as the "Pumpkin Man." Like Keller, Cobb's Andover home – on the PA campus – was searched by law enforcement officials, who removed many images deemed to be child pornography. Cobb, however, was charged with attempted sexual assault, in addition.

Cobb spent 11 years in a New Hampshire prison after being convicted of an attempted sexual assault and 321 counts of possessing

child pornography.

Cobb was dubbed the "Pumpkin Man" because, when he was arrested in Farminton, N.H., he was carrying a knapsack filled with a pumpkin mask, child pornography, children's underwear, a camera and a handwritten list outlining payouts for certain activities such as "lotioning Pumpkin." He was wearing a shirt from a fictitious camp and had approached a 12-year-old boy. Prosecutors used the price list and pumpkin mask as evidence that Cobb was attempting to have sexual interaction with the preteen boy.

Statement from Phillips Academy As always, our highest priority is the safety of our students. We offer many layers of support to ensure their well being while in our care. We have no reason to believe that any of our students were involved in, or affected by, Dr. Keller's alleged criminal behavior.These are the facts surrounding Dr. Keller's departure from Phillips Academy. Dr. Keller was employed for 19 years as the school's physician on a year-to-year contract. In April, 2011, Phillips Academy informed Dr. Keller that his annual contract would not be renewed. Dr. Keller resigned his appointment and left the school that same month. The reasons for the school's decision not to renew his appointment involved professional misconduct unrelated to the charges Dr. Keller faces from the US Attorney's office. The facts that led up to the school's decision not to renew Dr. Keller's contract were several; no single incident led to this decision. The salient facts include the following. In 1999, Dr. Keller was reprimanded for using an academy computer to access pornography involving adult subjects. In 2002, Dr. Keller was reprimanded for showing an inappropriate cartoon to students. Dr. Keller was also cited for poor management and poor judgment, which led the school to place him on administrative probation in 2009. In 2010, Dr. Keller sent an inappropriate voice-mail message to a colleague at the school. Dr. Keller subsequently claimed that the school had discriminated against him. The school investigated Dr. Keller's claim and determined it to be groundless. Upon conclusion of that investigation, the school informed Dr. Keller that his contract would not be renewed for violating his administrative probation. We will continue to assist the US Attorney's office in all aspects of this investigation, while responding to the needs of our community in the days ahead. We encourage anyone with any information as it pertains to these charges to contact the US Attorney's office at 617-748-3274. John Palfrey Head of School