Texas Teacher Gets 20 Years for Producing Child Porn

child porn phone

A Texas drama teacher convicted for exchanging nude photos and videos online with a 13-year-old Michigan boy received 20 years in prison last week on a federal child porn charge.

The teacher, Matthew Anthony Keller, 25, pleaded guilty to one count of felony child pornography production in October. Senior U.S. District Judge Terry Means sentenced him to federal prison for 20 years, or 240 months, said U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.

“I’m always deeply disturbed by those who produce child pornography, “said Parker. “It’s particularly appalling when the child is victimized by a teacher, someone in a trusted position.”

Keller has remained in federal custody since the time of his July 2016 arrest. Keller, formerly a  high school drama teacher in the Fort Worth Independent School District, coaxed a 13-year-old Michigan boy to produce and sent him nude, sexually explicit photographs. The two allegedly met in an online chat room in 2014.

Initially, the minor told Keller he was 18-years-old, the age of consent. However, later the child admitted that he was only 13-years-0ld when the Texas teacher persuaded him to text message 25 nude photographs and 25 sexually explicit videos, according to court documents.

In 2016, the boy’s parents notified Macomb County, Michigan, police once they discovered the two year online relationship between their their son, now 15-years-0ld, and Keller. According to the complaint, the parents also learned that Keller planned to fly to Michigan, potentially to meet the minor for sex.

As part of their investigation, the Macomb County Sheriff’s Department assumed the boy’s identity and began texting Keller on the boy’s cellphone, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The suspect “appeared skeptical and requested a video chat to prove it was the victim,” the complaint stated. Ultimately, investigators made direct contact with Keller. He admitted to meeting the boy online, adding that he considered the minor to be his boyfriend and “described their communications and conversations as sexual in nature.”

The boy told Michigan detectives he and Keller sent sexual text messages several times a week and the Texas teacher told him to delete the pictures and videos. Police obtained a search warrant for Keller’s Watauga, Texas, residence, seizing a computer from his bedroom. CBS DFW reported that forensic analysis revealed sexually explicit video of the minor victim.

Before his July 2016 arrest, Keller voluntarily resigned from his position as Southwest High School theatre director, said Fort Worth ISD spokesman Clint Bond. The district hired Keller in 2014.

The federal complaint against Keller also listed him as a youth pastor. However, Keller only volunteered at a baptist church children’s ministry in Haltom City and was not an employee, church officials told the Fort Worth newspaper. The Haltom Road Baptist Church said they were not aware that Keller “behaved inappropriately with anyone.”

This case was brought as 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. Shepherded by U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals, who sexually exploit children, and identify and rescue victims.

U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office, the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office, and the Eastpointe, Michigan Police Department investigated the case.

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

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