Warren Little League coach of 40 years arrested for possession of child pornography
WARREN, R.I. (WLNE) – Rhode Island State Police announced Tuesday the arrest of a longtime Warren Little League coach and former East Bay Warrior Pop Warner football coach for possession of child pornography.
Michael “Bird” Witherell, 59, of Warren, was arrested after state police received a cyber tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) reporting that a Rhode Island resident was transmitting files that contained child pornography.
State police say that a subsequent investigation determined that the internet connection that was used to access and posses child pornography came from Witherell’s apartment in Warren.
On Tuesday, the Rhode Island State Police’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) executed a search warrant at Witherell’s apartment.
During the search, police seized Witherell’s personal cellphone, computer, and numerous printed images depicting child pornography, according to a release.
According to state police, Witherell coached youth baseball (ages 10-12) in the Warren Little League program for the past 40 years. He also coached for the East Bay Warriors Pop Warner football program (ages 10-13) from 1982-2014.
State Police say at this time there is no evidence of any involvement with members of the Warren Little League or the East Bay Warriors.
Witherell was arraigned in 6th District Court in Providence Wednesday morning on the felony charge and was released on $10,000 personal recognizance. The judge ordered Witherell to only use the internet for banking, religious services, legal and medical reasons. He’s also ordered to have no contact with anyone under the age of 18 and must refrain from using social media.
Anyone with information regarding Mr. Witherell is encouraged to contact the Rhode Island State Police/ Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force at 401-921-1170.
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