California Youth Counselor Pleads Guilty to Producing Child Pornography
WASHINGTON – A Pleasant Hill, Calif., youth counselor pleaded guilty today in federal court in Oakland, Calif., to producing child pornography, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of the Northern District of California.
Thomas Perez Jewell, 54, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton in the Northern District of California to one count of production of child pornography.
Jewell admitted to sexually molesting two minor victims and to producing child pornography of the molestation. According to court documents, Jewell was employed as a youth counselor and therapist. Jewell’s molestation offenses were discovered when law enforcement executed a search warrant on his residence for suspected possession of child pornography.
Jewell has been in custody since his arrest on Nov. 18, 2011. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 29, 2012, before Judge Hamilton in Oakland. At sentencing, Jewell will face a minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and a maximum term of life on supervised release. Jewell will be required to register as a sex offender in accordance with state and federal law.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Hill and Trial Attorney Mi Yung Park of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. This case was investigated by the FBI; the Pleasant Hill Police Department; the Martinez, Calif., Police Department; and the Walnut Creek, Calif., Police Departments.
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 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov .