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No Bail for Texas Teacher Accused of Child Porn

A federal judge ordered a seventh grade Texas teacher charged with the receipt, distribution, and possession of child pornography to remain in custody without bail while he awaits his trial next month amid details emerging about the suspect’s criminal history.

Jason Johnson, 50, faced federal Judge Mary Milloy on Wed., May 11, waiving his right to a detention hearing. Having reason to believe Johnson could pose a flight risk, Milloy did not offer him bond and ruled the former teacher will remain in federal custody while he awaits trial, the Houston Chronicle reported.

On Friday, May 6, federal agents arrested Johnson, charging him with the distribution, receipt, and possession of child pornography. The FBI obtained a warrant and searched his apartment, finding numerous pornographic videos and images of prepubescent girls being sexually exploited, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Ken Magidson for the Southern District of Texas.

Federal agents found several unmarked VHS tapes, appearing to be videos from a hidden camera Johnson allegedly set up which showed girls changing clothes within a school. On these tapes, there are young female students who are observed to be entering the camera’s field of view and removing their clothing while in the process of changing into a uniform, according to the complaint.

The Chronicle reported that the girls ranged in age from about 10 to younger than three-years-old. Officials said it did not appear the videos were taken at Beechnut Academy. Houston ISD suspended Johnson’s employment last Friday and terminated his employment Wednesday.

Johnson taught social studies for 16 years at Beechnut Academy, a grade 6-12 Discipline Alternative Education Program (DAEP) facility in the Houston Independent School District. Houston’s KTRK 13 (ABC) reported Johnson was contracted by Camelot Schools of Texas, LLC, the company which assumed the DAEP facility’s management in 2012.

Houston Fox 26 reported Johnson never had any complaints filed against him by students, although he pleaded guilty to indecent exposure charge in 1998 and served one year of probation that ended in July 1999. He was ordered to participate in a sex offender program but was not required to formally register as a sex offender, according to KTRK 13, which uncovered Johnson’s teaching certificate was suspended from 2000 to 2004, although it remains unknown why.

A Camelot Education spokesperson explained to KTRK 13 they did not run background checks on existing DAEP employees like Johnson when they took over the operation “because they had already received state and school district approval.” In response Johnson’s arrest, the company plans to run background checks on those current employees who were working on the campus prior to 2012.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas  stated the investigation began Dec. 6, 2015, as the FBI sought to identify persons using peer-to-peer software to traffic in child pornography, according to the criminal complaint filed in the case. In a sworn affidavit, an FBI investigator said he could download child pornography videos on peer-to-peer software between December 2015 and February 2016 that traced to an online account registered to Johnson.

This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the U.S. Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.

Johnson next appears before a federal grand jury in June. If convicted, he faces a minimum of five and up to 20 years imprisonment for the distribution and receipt as well as another 10 years for the possession of child pornography charges.

Follow Merrill Hope, a member of the original Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.

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