State authorities suspect that an Edina High School teacher who also was a longtime Hornets assistant girls’ basketball coach has been accessing child pornography online “for several years.”

The allegations came in a search warrant affidavit filed Tuesday in Hennepin County District Court seeking permission to search the teacher’s school-issued computer and his Bloomington home.

The 49-year-old social studies teacher was put on paid administrative leave Thursday, school district spokeswoman Susan Brott said. In a statement released later by the district, school officials said he would not be teaching or attending school functions, and his employment status would be determined at the conclusion of the investigation.

“We understand that any such news about a school district employee is unsettling,” the statement said. “We take all allegations against our staff seriously and remain committed to providing safe, enriching learning environment for all students.”

The teacher coached basketball from 2003 until 2015, Brott said. He joined the district at Valley View Middle School and moved to the neighboring high school in 2006, she said.

Once district officials learned of the allegations, they began their own investigation, Brott added. “We have no knowledge” of the teacher harming any students, she said.

Messages left Tuesday with the teacher seeking a response to the allegations were not answered. Charges have yet to be filed and he is not in jail. The Star Tribune typically does not name suspects before they are charged.

According to the court filing made by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force:

The task force received two tips pointing to the teacher visiting Chatstep, an anonymous chat room service. Chatstep provided to law enforcement sexually explicit images of girls ages 6 to 8.

When questioned by the task force late last week at his home, the teacher “admitted to possessing and distributing child pornographic images and videos through Chatstep and other chat platforms for several years,” the court filing read.

He also “admitted to having an attraction to minor females in the range of 10 to 15 years old,” the court document continued. He also said he would have online chats with “like-minded individuals [and] this happened multiple times a day.”

The teacher said he has a school-issued laptop that he “tried” or “tries” not to use to chat online about child pornography.

Law enforcement then went to the high school concerning the laptop, which was in his classroom. District officials initially said they intended to access its contents for its own investigation before turning the evidence over to the BCA.

The BCA cautioned the district that such a move could compromise the “evidentiary integrity” of what the laptop holds. The district told the Star Tribune late Thursday afternoon that the laptop was turned over to the BCA and it did not access its contents.