Former HISD Elementary Teacher Convicted of Possession and Distribution of Child Pornography
|Feb. 19, 2013|
HOUSTON – Juan Antonio Villarreal, 53, of Houston, has entered a plea of guilty to both distribution and possession of child pornography, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.
The investigation began as a result of several downloads of child pornography over the Internet by a Beaumont police officer which were traced to a computer used by Villarreal.
On Aug. 31, 2012, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents executed a federal search warrant at the residence of Villarreal in Houston, at which time several images and videos of child pornography were discovered on a thumb drive inserted into a USB port on a Dell Desktop computer located within the residence. One of the videos included a known minor child victim performing oral sex on an adult male.
Child pornography was also found on a Dell desktop computer and five additional thumb drives found in the residence. A forensic exam on the devices resulted in the discovery of a total of approximately 1425 images and 277 videos of child pornography.
Villarreal confirmed he was a third grade teacher at an HISD elementary school. He also admitted he had received, viewed and downloaded child pornography for approximately five years.
U.S. District Judge Vanessa Gilmore, who accepted the guilty plea, has set sentencing for May 13, 2013. At that time, Villarreal faces a sentence of at least five and up to 20 years imprisonment for the distribution conviction as well as a maximum 10 years imprisonment for possession. Both charges also carry as possible punishment a $250,000 fine. Upon completion of any prison term imposed, Villarreal also faces a maximum of life on supervised release during which the court can impose a number of special conditions designed to protect children and prohibit the use of the Internet.
The charges against Villarreal were the result of an investigation conducted by HSI. He has been in custody since his arrest Aug. 31, 2012, where he will remain pending sentencing.
This case, prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert Stabe, 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 the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."