The former Kentucky school principal who was arrested Tuesday and accused of possessing child pornography made headlines 10 years ago for banning classroom books that were accused of including "soft pornography" and "homosexual content."
Phillip Todd Wilson, 54, of Winchester, has been charged with 30 counts of child pornography-related offenses, according to Kentucky State Police.
Wilson is principal of the Clark County Area Technology Center, which offers high school vocational courses and is on the campus of George Rogers Clark High School in Winchester.
State troopers were notified Tuesday morning of allegations that a principal at the school was in possession of and possibly distributing explicit images involving a minor. Wilson was later arrested and booked into the Clark County Detention Center.
A spokeswoman for the Kentucky Department of Education, which oversees the Clark County Area Technology Center, said Wilson "is no longer an employee of the Department of Education."
in 2009, Wilson was the principal of Montgomery County High School in Mount Sterling, Kentucky, when some parents contacted school officials to complain about several contemporary young-adult novels being taught alongside classical works like "Beowulf" in English classes.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reported at the time that some parents complained the novels "contain foul language and cover topics — including sex, child abuse, suicide and drug abuse — unsuited for discussion in coed high school classes."
The books reportedly under scrutiny included:
"Twisted" by Laurie Halse Anderson
"Deadline" by Chris Crutcher
"Lessons from a Dead Girl" by Jo Knowles
"Unwind" by Neal Shusterman
Risha Mullins, the teacher who had the books in her classroom, would later write in a blog post that a parent of a student who chose to read "Lessons from a Dead Girl" emailed her along with Wilson, the superintendent and school board members and claimed she taught "soft pornography."
Wilson and Montgomery County High School administrators eventually decided to pull the books in question from Mullins' classroom, the teacher wrote in a post that was later deleted but archived in part by a blog dedicated to censorship issues.
Mullins wrote that several letters to the editor in the community newspaper targeted her in the weeks following the book ban and that colleagues stopped talking to her.
Following news of Wilson's arrest, several authors of the banned books spoke out on social media.
"Poisonous leaders use their power to protect their evil," Anderson tweeted Wednesday, referring to Wilson.
In a Facebook post, Knowles wrote she was "a very new author" in 2009 when Montgomery County school officials banned her book "for homosexual and other content," adding the "press coverage was overwhelming."
"I was horrified by the accusations (Wilson) and the superintendent made. And heartbroken for the brave teacher Risha Allen Mullins who stood up for our books and faced so much unfair criticism," Knowles wrote.
Knowles added she was "having a lot of feelings now" and told some friends when she got the news of Wilson's arrest, "You can't make this s--- up."