LOS ANGELES – A federal grand jury yesterday named a Burbank teacher in a criminal indictment that accuses him of sexually exploiting a fifteen-year-old former student for purposes of producing child pornography images of the minor.
Sean David Sigler, 53, of Burbank – who previously taught fifth-grade students at Bret Harte Elementary School in Burbank and at Gardner Street Elementary School in Los Angeles – was indicted Thursday on eleven counts including obtaining custody and control of a minor with intent to produce child pornography, production of child pornography, enticement of a minor, and possession of child pornography. The United States Attorney’s Office previously filed a criminal complaint against Sigler charging him with production of child pornography.
According to the complaint, Sigler inserted himself into the victim’s life shortly after the child left Sigler’s classroom and used his position as former teacher, mentor, and father-figure to gain the trust of the victim and her parent. Sigler then exploited that trust to gain sexual access to the minor victim. Over the course of 15 months, Sigler regularly transported the victim to his home, where he would give her alcohol and pills and then photograph and film his sexual activity with her. Sigler began having sex with the minor victim when she was just fifteen.
Sigler’s digital devices contained numerous images and videos of his sexual acts with the victim, as well as thousands of images of child pornography depicting unknown pre-pubescent minors, non-pornographic images of minor female students in Sigler’s classroom, and images copied and saved from the social media accounts of former students.
The violation of obtaining custody and control of a minor with intent to produce child pornography carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 30 years and a maximum of life imprisonment. The charges of producing child pornography each carry a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 15 years and a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison. The charge of enticement carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence of 10 years and a maximum of life imprisonment. The charges of possessing child pornography each carry a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.
A complaint and indictment contain allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.
Sigler is currently in federal custody and will be arraigned on the indictment in the coming weeks.
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Burbank Police Department.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Damaris Diaz and Devon Myers of the Violent and Organized Crime Section.