After an 11-month federal investigation, former New Canaan Nature Center employee Timothy J. Yancey, 57, of Milford was arrested last week for the alleged possession 70 images of child pornography. He was charged with first-degree child pornography possession and is being held on $250,000 bond.

The arrest stemmed from a complaint that the former Nature Center maintenance worker had child pornography on his assigned IBM desktop work computer, as first reported by the New Canaan News.

Yancey allegedly downloaded 69 pornographic images of girls who appear to be between 5 and 11 years old on a Nature Center computer, according to the affidavit. The hard drive also contained one pornographic image of a boy, approximately 5 or 6 years old, sprawled on a bed and tied at the wrists to the bed posts with plastic zip ties, the affidavit said.

Thousands more pornographic images had been deleted from the hard drive and were recovered during the federal investigation, according to the affidavit.

Yancey, who worked at the Nature Center for more than eight months, first came under suspicion at the center in the winter of 2009. Executive Director Laura Heckman confronted him about spending an abnormal amount of time on his computer, the affidavit said.

"Yancey told Heckman he took initiative and was conducting an inventory using the computer," the affidavit said. "Heckman asked Yancey if she could see what he had done so far and Yancey was not able to provide her with an inventory."

In April 2009, Yancey's supervisor told a fellow employee that he saw Yancey looking at child porn at his desk in the center's greenhouse on three occasions, the affidavit said. The supervisor told the employee that he cut a slat in the window blinds between his and Yancey's desks to spy on Yancey, but did not confront Yancey until after the third incident, according to the affidavit.

The supervisor later denied ever catching Yancey with child pornography, the affidavit said.

The affidavit also contains an employee report that Yancey "would jump up and quickly shut his monitor off" every time that employee entered the greenhouse.

When asked by Heckman if his computer contained inappropriate material, Yancey "became very nervous and was sweating" and apologized for downloading Japanese games from the Internet, the affidavit said.

Yancey was suspended with pay when federal agents seized his computer on April 20, 2009.

When clearing out Yancey's workspace, Heckman discovered pornographic photos of adult women in a manila folder on his desk, the affidavit said.

Yancey was terminated on April 22, according to the affidavit.

Matthew Maddox, the Nature Center's attorney, has said Yancey's job duties did not put him in contact with the students.

Yancey appeared in handcuffs without an attorney at Norwalk Superior Court Wednesday, March 24, after spending the night behind bars in New Canaan. The husband and father of two, who is currently employed at Home Depot in East Haven, wore a New York Yankees' emblem on a dark blue zip-up sweater during his appearance. He remained seated and did not offer a plea. Judge Bruce Hudock denied a request to reduce his bail from $250,000 to $100,000.

Hudock imposed three conditions should Yancey post bail: He is not permitted to have contact with any Nature Center employees; he is not permitted on Nature Center property; and he is not permitted to have unsupervised contact with minors under 18.

Yancey is scheduled to return to court on April 14.