John Dockum

John Dockum, a Vermont Teacher, Was Arrested on Felony Charges of Child Pornography

John Dockum, a fifth-grade teacher at Monument Elementary School in Bennington, Vermont, was recently arrested on felony charges for allegedly having child pornography on his school laptop.

Searches of Dockum’s computer revealed images of young girls. Police believe they had been downloaded from the Internet.

Early Life and Education

John Dockum had an affinity for films from a young age. He enjoyed watching westerns on television and creating his own movies.

Dockum captured his time in the military by making amateur films of new technologies, his helicopter pilot training and domestic scenes with his wife Joanne and children. Additionally, he captured home movies shot on 50-foot rolls of Super 8mm film that documented camping trips to Wisconsin with his family as well as pony and tractor rides at his parents’ farm in Hamilton, Ohio.

In November, Dockum was charged with five felony counts of child pornography after police discovered video files on his computer that appeared to be of underage girls. On Monday in Bennington County Court, he pleaded not guilty and was released with the condition that he not have contact with his wife or any children under 16 years old.

Professional Career

Dockum was a chemical engineer by profession and an avid film buff. Throughout his enlistment in the Vietnam War, he made amateur movies to document new technologies and life on military bases.

He was an accomplished pianist, having played in several orchestras and solo shows across the US. Eventually he retired and settled down on Fenwick Island, Delaware with his wife Mary Frances.

Humanities Kansas awarded two grants that helped bring the Dockum Sit-ins back into public awareness, with an exhibition at Wichita Advanced Learning Library and documentary film shown by KPTS radio in Wichita. A companion children’s book also was created – called “People, Pride and Promise: The Story of the Dockum Sit-in” – designed to encourage reading among young children.

Achievements and Honors

John Dockum, a graduate of Newton High School, went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Following this he spent 42 years working for DuPont and PPG Industries in purchasing, commercial development and sales/marketing management roles.

He was honored in 2014 with the designation of an SJA Fellow, awarded to those who have demonstrated leadership and excellence within their fields. Additionally, he was a member of the Mother Alice Society, 1868 Society and Shield Society as well as receiving the Academy’s highest honor – The Spirit of SJA award. Additionally, he participated in SJA’s annual fundraising efforts and became the proud beneficiary of their newest scholarship – Angela Morris Dockum ’86 Scholarship.

Personal Life

John Dockum had an extensive professional career spanning over 42 years, from purchasing and commercial development to sales and marketing management with DuPont and PPG Industries. His specialty lay in plastics processing as well as fiberglass.

After retiring in 1993, Dockum and his wife Mary Frances settled in Sarasota, Florida where they enjoyed their summer home. He was active within community associations and served on the boards of numerous entrepreneurial firms.

He was also an attorney, representing clients in both state and federal courts. Additionally, he wrote a book about an ancestor accused of witchcraft in 1692 that became widely read.

Attorney William Bennington who represents Dockum said he fought the charges because he believed the images had been deleted from a temporary internet cache and there was no proof Dockum downloaded or viewed them.

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