Former School Employee Pleads Guilty To Enticing A MinorCharge Involves Series Of Facebook Messages
WASHINGTON – Joseph A. Morales, 27, a former teacher’s aide at Cardozo Education Campus in the District of Columbia, pled guilty today to enticing a minor in violation of District of Columbia law, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., Andrew G. McCabe, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
Morales, now of Brooklyn, N.Y., entered the guilty plea in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The Honorable Rhonda Reid Winston is to sentence him on Feb. 27, 2015. The charge carries a statutory maximum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $12,500.
According to the government's evidence, between May 2013 and May 2014, Morales engaged in a series of Facebook messaging sessions with a 16-year old student at the high school. During those sessions, Morales was employed as a teacher’s aide and substitute teacher, and had administrative duties at the school. He repeatedly asked the student for images of the student’s penis and asked that the student engage in sexual acts with him.
This case was brought as part of the Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood initiative and investigated by the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force, which includes members of the FBI's Washington Field Office and MPD. In February 2006, the Attorney General created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorney's Offices, 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 identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov
In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Machen, Assistant Director in Charge McCabe and Chief Lanier praised the work of the MPD Detectives and Special Agents of the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force. They also commended the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney Ari Redbord, who is prosecuting the case.14-283