March 31, 2010
FORMER SCHOOL TEACHER SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR POSSESSING CHILD PORNOGRAPHY
(HOUSTON) - Fernando Gonzalez, 35, a Houston resident and former school teacher, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Keith P. Ellison to prison for possession of child pornography, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.
Judge Ellison sentenced Gonzalez to 87 months in federal prison without parole to be followed by a life term of supervised release. Special conditions ordered by the court with which Gonzalez must comply or face the possibility of revocation and yet another prison sentence include his registering as a sex offender, participation in a sex offender treatment program, not reside or work within 100 feet of a school, park, playground or other places primarily used by children under the age of 18 nor have any contact with minors under the age of 18.
The charges against Gonzalez are the result of an investigation conducted by members of the Pasadena ISD Police Department, the lead agency in the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Harris County District Attorney’s Office and Precinct 3 Constable’s Office. Gonzalez was arrested on the federal charges in December 2008 and has remained in federal custody since that arrest.
On May 14, 2008, students at North Shore High School in Galena Park Independent School District walked by Gonzalez’s classroom and saw him looking at images of child pornography on his school computer and fondling himself. The students told school administrators who confronted Gonzalez was about what the students had seen. Gonzalez showed school officials a large box containing 288 3.5" computer disks that he identified as containing child pornography. Gonzalez was allowed to leave the school grounds and police were called. School administrators turned over the box of disks to law enforcement.
Gonzalez admitted to officers that the disks came from his collection and that he had more than 100 disks with pictures of naked little girls obtained via the Internet. Because his wife had caught him at home about two years earlier, Gonzalez had taken his collection on floppy disks to the school so his wife wouldn’t find out. Gonzalez admitted that he has looked at child pornography in his classroom with students present and has masturbated in classroom while watching child pornography.
A forensic analysis of the floppy disks found they contained more than 4000 images of child pornography. No such images were found on the school’s computer.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States 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 exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Stabe.
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