Michael Harding: Officer may have lived secret life - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Michael Harding: Officer may have lived secret life

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - He was once police officer of the year, but now a Port St. Lucie cop is behind bars accused of distributing child pornography while on duty.

Homeland Security investigators say Officer Michael Harding was sharing the child porn through a smart phone app while he was on duty.

In his home, they say they found a thumb drive with hundreds of sexually explicit images of children.

"If these allegations are true, this is very disturbing," Port St. Lucie Police Chief John Bolduc said.

On the outside, Officer Harding had it all together: career accolades, and a wife and three children.

But investigators say there was a secret.

"They use denial and compartmentalization...they put the issue in a small compartment. They lock it up, turn the key, and put it away," Psychologist Dr. Mark Ellinger said.

While so many of Officer Harding's family and colleagues are shocked, Dr. Ellinger is not.

"Humans are very good at keeping secrets," Dr. Ellinger said.

Ellinger doesn't know the officer, but has worked on similar cases.

He says he is not surprised Officer Harding passed psychological and polygraph exams when he became an officer.

"Some people are so good at the denial and putting it in the little box and hiding it away that it doesn't come out on a polygraph. Also, polygraphs can be worked around depending on the person's sophistication and skill," Dr. Ellinger said.

Officer Harding is on unpaid administrative leave. A judge is keeping him behind bars with no bond until a hearing next week.

The federal judge said Harding is a danger to the community.

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