Texas Teacher Pleads Guilty to Federal Child Porn Charges

A former Texas elementary school teacher pleaded guilty on two counts of federal child pornography charges Thursday. In a case that began almost a year ago, authorities seized evidence of wrongdoing on a laptop in the suspect’s apartment.

Javier Carlos Arteta Franco, 58, a Venezuelan National, appeared in federal court before United States Magistrate Judge David Counts in the Western District of Texas. Franco admitted that between December 2014 and August 2015 he used a file-sharing program to download onto his personal computer videos and images of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

The former first grade teacher pleaded guilty to one charge of receipt of child pornography and one charge of possession of child pornography, stated United States Attorney Richard L. Durbin, Jr., and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Waldemar Rodriguez, El Paso Division.

There was no information available linking any of Franco’s inappropriate conduct to any student at the Fort Stockton Independent School District where, previously, he taught at Alamo Elementary School located in west Texas. The events that led to Franco’s day before a federal magistrate trace back to August 19, 2015, when Homeland Security agents obtained a search warrant and, subsequently, seized the accused’s laptop from his Fort Stockton apartment, according to a news release issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials. A forensics analysis of the computer revealed evidence of child pornography downloaded from the Internet.

At the time, Franco told special agents he downloaded child pornography for about a year, and that his laptop contained video and image files of the same. A week later, on August 26, 2015, a U.S. magistrate ordered Franco stay in federal custody where he remained without bond since his arrest by HSI agents. Presently, Franco faces between five and 30 years in prison, but a sentencing date has not been scheduled yet.

ICE and HSI investigated this case with assistance from the Fort Stockton Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division. It 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. It was conducted under HSI’s Operation Predator, which, since launching in 2003, has arrested more than 12,000 individuals for crimes against children, including the production and distribution of online child pornography, traveling overseas for sex with minors, and sex trafficking of children.

Child pornography is considered a form of sexual exploitation of minors, those individuals under the age of 18, according to the Justice Department. Federal law prohibits the production, distribution, importation, receipt, or possession of an image of child pornography. Violation of this law is a serious crime. If convicted, an offender can face severe statutory penalties.

Today’s internet age has provided a channel for child porn offenders where they can readily create, access, share, or even sell these explicit images of youngsters. Additionally, online communities and social media foster communication between child pornographers, oftentimes attracting or promoting new individuals to get involved in the sexual exploitation of children. Child pornography is part of a larger issue, in this case, the inappropriate teacher-student sexual misconduct that continues to plague Texas public education.

Breitbart Texas reported 2014-15 marked the seventh consecutive year these improper relationships between educators and students increased in the state to a record-breaking 188 cases. As the Texas Education Agency moves closer to releasing its 2015-16 year-end findings this summer, approximately 190 cases already appear to have been opened, surpassing last year’s record.

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


Comment count on this article reflects comments made on Breitbart.com and Facebook. Visit Breitbart's Facebook Page.