Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

News

September 20, 2012

Feds to fight bail for pediatrician facing child porn charges

(Continued)

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

Text Only | Photo Reprints
News

Pictures of the Week
Stocks