Acalanes Retiree Arrested for Alleged Possession of Child Pornography

By Blueprint Editors-in-Chief

The Walnut Creek Police Department (PD) has still not filed charges against former Acalanes English teacher Marshall Pfeiffer, who was arrested seven months ago in September on a felony charge of suspicion of possession of child pornography. And the Contra Costa County District Attorney (DA)’s office does not have records of police charges filed against Pfeiffer either.

   Pfeiffer attained a bail bond a couple of days after his arrest, and is currently out of custody. Only after the DA has formally filed charges will the State open a case against Pfieffer, and at this point charges are still pending. It could potentially take months or up to a year for the District Attorney’s office to decide what charges are going to be filed against him, according to Walnut Creek Police Department’s Lieutenant Lanny Edwards. 

   Pfeiffer’s felony charge is a violation of California Penal Code section 311.11(a). Various detectives from police departments around Contra Costa County conducted the investigation. According to a Walnut Creek PD Press Release, the investigators executed a search warrant and found files of child pornography stored on a computer in his Walnut Creek residence.

   According to California Penal Code 311.11(a), if Pfeiffer is found guilty, he faces punishment  “by imprisonment in the state prison, or a county jail for up to one year, or by a fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500), or by both the fine and the imprisonment.”

Pfeiffer was booked at the Martinez detention facility. According to a Walnut Creek Police Department press release, Pfeiffer has been cooperative with authorities. There is no evidence so far that suggests any connection between his teaching career and his alleged crime. Pfeiffer retired last year after a 25 year teaching career. He taught two classes of seniors and one class of sophomores in the 2014-2015 school year.

   Acalanes staff and administration were notified of the events in an urgent, unscheduled, after school meeting on September 1, and students were notified the following day during the annual handbook assembly. 

In the days following the arrest, Acalanes’ students and staff members were in a state of shock and disbelief. Since Mr. Pfeiffer mainly taught seniors, there are few current students at Acalanes who had him as a teacher. Although the arrest was a common topic among students, they were overall not as affected as the faculty. Many teachers were visibly upset by the news and some chose to openly discuss the event with their classes. Other teachers did not seem affected at all and did not talk about the arrest.

   A preliminary look by Blueprint at often-used student social media did not show student discussion of or reaction to the matter.

   Members of the Acalanes counseling office are available for students if needed. Indicating that the situation could trigger some kind of negative or painful reaction for students. Guidance Counselor Susan Martin said, “I did have one student come in who had [Pfeiffer] the previous year. Anecdotally, I also approached and spoke to students in the hallway who were seniors and juniors to get the sense of how the kids are feeling on campus. They weren’t negatively affected by what happened, and it didn’t really change the way they view Pfeiffer as a teacher.”

   Anyone with additional pertinent information should contact the Acalanes Union High School District or Lieutenant Lanny Edwards at the Walnut Creek Police Department at (925) 943.5883.


News van spotted in the student parking lot at 9 pm this Tuesday, 9/1/15, presumably covering Pfeiffer’s case.

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