Joseph Zanco, a teacher at Massapequa High School, pleaded guilty today at the federal courthouse in Central Islip to transportation and possession of child pornography. The proceeding was held before United States District Judge Joseph F. Bianco. When sentenced, Zanco faces a mandatory minimum of five years’ and a maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment, as well as forfeiture and a fine of up to $250,000.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York, announced the guilty plea.
In April 2018, while a teacher at Massapequa High School, Zanco began uploading hundreds of images of child pornography to the cloud-based Google Drive storage feature of his Google account. In accordance with its policies and federal law, Google flagged these uploads, suspended the defendant’s account, and notified law enforcement authorities. Federal prosecutors and agents then obtained search warrants and recovered from Zanco’s Google account the same child pornography Google had reported, as well as additional images and videos containing child pornography from Zanco’s laptop computer and cell phone.
“Zanco now faces years in prison for victimizing children by possessing and transporting images of minors being sexually abused, at the same time he was employed as a teacher and entrusted with the safety and well-being of students,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “The protection of innocent children is a priority for this Office and our law enforcement partners. We will continue to make every effort to ensure that those who contribute to the victimization of children are brought to justice.” Mr. Donoghue extended his grateful appreciation to ICE-HSI’s Child Exploitation Group for its investigative work and assistance.
This prosecution is 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 United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, 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 to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division. Assistant United States Attorney Michael R. Maffei is in charge of the prosecution.
JOSEPH M. ZANCO
Massapequa, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 18-CR-412 (JFB)