Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

Thursday, March 1, 2012

California Youth Counselor Sentenced to 29 Years in Prison for Producing Child Pornography

Defendant Also Ordered to Pay $234,000 in Restitution to Victim

WASHINGTON – Thomas Perez Jewell was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Oakland, Calif., to 29 years in prison and was ordered to pay $234,000 in restitution for producing child pornography, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of the Northern District of California and Special Agent in Charge Stephanie Douglas of the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office.                                                 

According to court documents, Jewell first came to the attention of law enforcement authorities when he was suspected of distributing and possessing child pornography.   A search of Jewell’s Pleasant Hill, Calif., apartment pursuant to a search warrant revealed evidence that Jewell had sexually molested two minor victims and photographed and videotaped his abuse.   A hard drive hidden under the mattress in Jewell’s bedroom contained thousands of images of the minor victims.   Prior to his arrest and conviction, Jewell was employed as a youth counselor and therapist in Contra Costa County, Calif.

Jewell, 54, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Dec. 9, 2010.   He was charged with production of child pornography, transportation of child pornography and possession of child pornography.   He pleaded guilty to one count of production of child pornography on Nov. 23, 2011.                                                                                        

Jewell was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton.   Judge Hamilton also sentenced the defendant to a lifetime of supervised release .   Jewell has been in custody since his arrest on Nov. 18, 2010.                                                                                                         

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Hill of the Northern District of California and Trial Attorney Mi Yung Park of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section 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 Department.                    

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, as well as to identify and rescue victims.   For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

Project Safe Childhood
Press Release Number: 
Updated September 15, 2014