OAKLAND -- A former Teacher of the Year at a Pittsburg elementary school convicted of possessing child pornography was sentenced Wednesday to almost five years in prison.
U.S. District Court Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton sentenced Alex Bursch to 57 months in prison and ordered him to pay a $2,000 fine, according to Melinda Haag, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California.
Bursch, who also was a popular coach for the Pleasant Hill Dolfins swim club, was convicted by a judge during a one-day bench trial in August.
Trial evidence showed that Bursch used peer-to-peer file-sharing software to share child pornography images and videos. After police obtained a search warrant of Bursch's home, they found approximately 4,000 child pornography images and videos on his computer, some of them involving toddlers.
Bursch, 28, was named the Teacher of the Year at Los Medanos Elementary School in 2010, where he taught for five years. He also was a coach for the Pleasant Hill Dolfins swim team, and detectives found pictures of some of his swimmers, clad in their bathing suits, mixed in with the other images.
Bursch's teaching credential is suspended, according to the California Teachers' Commission Web site.
An anonymous tip given to the Contra Costa Sheriff's Office started the investigation in August 2010.
Rick Hurd covers breaking news. Contact him in Antioch at 925-779-7166 and follow him at Twitter.com/3rdERH.