Former Garland High School Teacher in Federal Custody After Pleading Guilty in Federal Court to Possessing Child Pornography
Willis Bassham Videotaped Himself Having Sexual Relations With a Student at the School
DALLAS — A former teacher at Garland High School, Willis Bassham, 40, formerly of McKinney, Texas, appeared this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul D. Stickney and pleaded guilty to an Information charging one count of possession of child pornography. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release. Sentencing is set for April 15, 2013, before U.S. District Judge Barbara M. G. Lynn. Following his plea, Bassham was remanded into the custody of the U.S. Marshal. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
According to documents filed in the case, Basham admits that he engaged in sexual acts and sexual conduct with three female minors who were students at the school where he was employed. He also admitted that he produced images and videos of two of the minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Bassham had videos on his cell phone of himself and one of the minors, then age 17, engaging in sexually explicit conduct. He also received pornographic images of one of the minors by copying the images from the minor’s cell phone memory card to his computer.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice, to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc For more information about internet safety education, please visit http://www.justice.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."
The investigation is being conducted by the Garland Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa J. Miller is in charge of the prosecution.
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