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Child Porn Charges Filed Against Teacher in Houston

A Harris County, Texas, prosecutor has filed sex crimes charges against a teacher for alleged child pornography. The 32-year-old Anderson Elementary School teacher, who taught music, has resigned. Prosecutors claim he started a profile on Facebook and pretended to be an underage girl. The former teacher wanted a 12-year-old boy to send him nude photos. The boy believed he was talking with a former classmate from school.

Investigators said they started looking into the Facebook profile after a tip from the boy's parents, who were concerned about his online activities. When police learned the name of the girl the boy thought he was communicating with, they interviewed her and found out that the Facebook profile was not hers. Someone was impersonating her. They obtained a warrant to search the man's home and they allegedly found nude images of children on a computer. They further claim the teacher confessed to using the Facebook site to get naked pictures from young boys. He also allegedly sent female pornography he found on various websites to the young boys and fooled them into thinking they were talking to a young girl.

Specific charges currently pending against the defendant include promotion of child pornography, online solicitation of a minor and three charges of possessing child pornography. Investigators say they have launched a broad investigation in which they intend to talk to as many as 156 people whom they believe the teacher was in contact with online. They also told the media the teacher might have used a hidden camera in his own classroom to photograph or film children there. All these further allegations, which were made without firm evidence sufficient to file additional charges, could easily have an impact on tainting and biasing the potential jury pool for any trial on the currently pending charges.

In a serious criminal case such as this one, the role of a criminal defense attorney includes exploring whether potential jurors have been tainted by pre-trial publicity. In extreme cases, a change of venue to another locality may be sought. Regardless of what purported crimes a defendant is accused of, they are entitled to a fair trial, a presumption of innocence and to be judged on the actual evidence related to the specific charges - not being branded based on unsubstantiated rumor and innuendo.

Source: WFAA.com, "DA lists 156 possible victims in child porn investigation of Texas teacher" No author given, Aug. 29, 2013

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