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NASA employee arrested on child porn charges

Investigators say Donald Lawson set up hidden cameras to record boys

Donald Lawson.

TITUSVILLE, Fla. – Donald Lawson, 70, of Titusville, was arrested under federal child pornography charges and booked Thursday evening into the Seminole County Jail.

[WEB EXTRA:  Read Criminal Complaint]

Investigators with NASA and the FBI believe Lawson not only downloaded hundreds of pictures and videos of children engaged in sex acts, they said he secretly recorded children in the nude.

After nearly 30 years at Kennedy Space Center, NASA fired Lawson in late May.

Lawson's neighbors told Local 6 that last week NASA, FBI and other federal agents searched his home and removed laptops and more.

According to a federal criminal complaint, Lawson admitted to downloading "600 to 800 images and videos" and federal agents believe Lawson set up a hidden camera at his house and a hotel room to record young boys naked.

Investigators said the hidden cameras recorded "nude images of the young boys that were in his care, including at least one young boy that Lawson interacted with as a volunteer for a well-known youth outreach program."

A LinkedIn page under his name said Lawson has been a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters since 1992. It reads, "Long term volunteer. Not currently registered with the agency, however, I continue to mentor 'Little Brothers' I was matched with, now in their early 20s."

Investigators are still going over those storage devices and all of those images to identify victims.

"I want to assure you that we do extensive and stringent background checks of all of our mentors," Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Florida, Michael Andriano, said. "While it is not our policy to comment on legal matters that are under investigation, I can say that based upon a five-year search the person in question is not an active mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters. We will thoroughly research this matter."