CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A former Clarksville school nurse is facing federal charges in a child pornography investigation.
According to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s office, Leon Hensley, 40, was arrested Thursday morning at his current home in Lake Wales, Florida. He is scheduled to appear before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Tampa later Thursday.
A criminal complaint alleges that from August 2017 through November 8, 2019, Hensley was employed as a nurse at Northeast High School (NEHS) in Clarksville. In November 2019, the Clarksville Police Department received information from the Tennessee Department of Children Services suggesting that Hensley texted a picture of a naked woman to a minor female in the Clarksville area.
Authorities say Hensley was communicating with the minor via text message and asked her to help him with a photo shoot by posing for photos.
Officers with the Clarksville Police Department searched Hensley’s phone and found several pictures showing sexual exploitation of children. When officers executed a search warrant for Hensley’s house, they seized numerous electronic devices, including a small covert video camera.
The initial search of Hensley’s phone lead officers to discover pictures of naked girls identified as NEHS students. Due to the large amount of images on Hensley’s devices, the United States Secret Service joined the investigation and conducted a more thorough forensic search of Hensley’s electronic devices.
It was during this search where authorities found several files depicting what appeared to be unidentified girls, all minors, secretly photographed while using the restroom by a hidden camera.
Other photos showed more unidentified women, this time in hospital examination rooms, pre-operation or post operation rooms, and naked women in tanning beds, authorities say.
To date, over 700 pictures of minor females in a single restroom in various stages of undress and/or using bathroom facilities have been found on devices belonging to Hensley. The images appear to have been taken by a hidden or concealed camera.
Authorities say the camera was positioned in such a way to capture or try to capture the female genitalia and was positioned in the same location in all of the pictures – directly across and in front of the toilet seat at toilet seat level.
Further investigation revealed that the pictures were taken from inside the private student bathroom in the nurse’s station at NEHS. Other images were found to have been taken at Tennova Hospital in Clarksville, where Hensley was employed prior to his employment at NEHS, investigators say.
The Clarksville-Montgomery County School System sent News 2 the following statement regarding Hensley:
“The Clarksville-Montgomery County School System (CMCSS) was made aware by the Clarksville Police Department (CPD) of a child exploitation investigation involving a former Northeast High School nurse who was employed at the school from August 1, 2018 through November 7, 2019. This former employee was terminated in November 2019 due to a CPD investigation at that time for exploitation of a minor. CPD has informed CMCSS that law enforcement is currently contacting other potential victims. The safety and well-being of our students is our top priority, and CMCSS is fully cooperating with CPD as they investigate these heinous crimes.
Since this is an active law enforcement investigation, CMCSS and Northeast High School personnel have no further information. Law enforcement will be contacting potential victims. However, if you or your child used nursing services at the school during this period of time and believe that you may have been a victim or if you have any information to provide related to this investigation, please contact the Homeland Security Hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.“
To date, over 40 victims are suspected to be students at NEHS and range from 12 to 17 years of age.
Hensley faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years and up to life in prison if convicted.
Homeland Security Investigations, the U.S. Secret Service, FBI, Clarksville Police Department and Assistant U.S. Attorneys are all in on the ongoing investigation.
Hensley was booked into the Pinellas County Jail without bond.
Clarksville police ask anyone who suspects their child is a victim of Hensley’s to call 1-866-347-2423 or email email@example.com.