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West Manchester Township has fired a police officer who is accused of possessing child pornography.

Chad Richard Howell was terminated March 8, according to Township Manager Kelly Kelch.

Howell was fired after his Loudermill hearing, Kelch said. It's a due-process hearing that's standard for government employees.

Howell requested that hearing, which was held March 3, according to Kelch.

"Then, based on the information I reviewed (at the hearing), he was terminated from his position," Kelch said.

Kelch confirmed that as township manager, he has the authority to hire and fire people.

There is an appeal process, and Howell could challenge his termination, according to Kelch.

Appeal process: West Manchester Township Police Chief Arthur Smith Jr. would be Howell's first line of appeal. If he fails to get relief there, he can appeal to Kelch for re-review, after which he could take his case to the ownship supervisors, Kelch said.

"Based on the information presented, the township is confident we made the correct decision in this matter," Kelch told The York Dispatch. "We hope the public doesn't see this as a reflection of our entire department."

He described West Manchester's police officers as hardworking and dedicated to serving the community.

Howell's attorney for the due-process hearing, Kaitlyn Clarkson, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The background: Howell, 36, of Dillsburg, is charged with 50 counts of child pornography and one count of using a computer for a criminal purpose. All offenses are third-degree felonies.

He is free on $25,000 bail. His preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for 3 p.m. April 24 before District Judge Keith Albright, according to court records.

He was placed on unpaid administrative leave the day the township learned of the charges, Kelch has said.

Howell was a York City Police officer until at least June 2015 and then was hired by the West Manchester Township Police Department.

The allegations:  On Feb. 3, the Attorney General's office received 14 cybertips reporting a user uploading an explicit image of a child, documents state.

The website Pinterest had reported that users uploaded images in October and November 2016, with those users registered under Chad or Chad Howell, documents state.

Through a subpoena, the IP addresses of those accounts were found to be from Howell's home in Dillsburg, the AG's office said.

Some of the uploaded images included girls as young as 8 years old, according to charging documents.

Met with agents: Agents from the AG's office met with Smith on Feb. 23, the day charges were filed, to set up a meeting with Howell as he was getting off duty, charging documents state.

While speaking with two agents from the AG's office, Howell consented to having his personal laptop computer and cellphone searched, documents state.

He also confirmed for agents that he used three of the four profiles mentioned as the ones that uploaded the pictures, according to charging documents. He admitted to using the names "howellycpd" "chrissmith4618" and "Howell103," the AG's office said.

When asked if officials would find child pornography on his phone or computers, Howell said, "I would like to say no, but I really don't know," documents state.

Images on iPhone: While doing a preview of Howell's iPhone, about 50 images of child pornography were found, the AG's office said.

"This was only a sampling of those images on Chad Richard Howell's Apple iPhone," documents state.

Additionally, agents from the AG's office searched Howell's residence, documents state. It is not clear if anything was found at Howell's home.

Howell's criminal attorney, Tim Barrouk, also could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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