Brooklyn High School Teacher Sentenced to 20 Years' Imprisonment for Production of Child Pornography
An indictment was unsealed today in federal court in Central Islip charging Joseph Zanco with transportation and possession of child pornography. The charges relate to images and videos of child pornography in Zanco’s Google account and on electronic devices found in his residence when members of law enforcement executed a search warrant. Zanco was arrested today and will be arraigned this afternoon before United States Magistrate Judge Anne Y. Shields.
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 charges.
“As alleged, Zanco possessed and transported hundreds of images of child pornography, crimes that contribute to the victimization of minor children, while he was employed in a position of trust as a teacher,” 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 will be brought to justice.” Mr. Donoghue extended his grateful appreciation to ICE-HSI’s Child Exploitation Group for its investigative work and assistance.
“This case is particularly troubling because the defendant allegedly committed these crimes while employed as a teacher,” stated HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Melendez. “HSI actively works with our law enforcement partners in the shared fight against those who are engaged in the spread of this content, especially those who have been entrusted with the education of our youth.”
According to court filings, beginning on April 13, 2018, Zanco, a teacher at Massapequa High School, began uploading hundreds of images of child pornography to the Google Drive storage feature of his Google account. Google, in accordance with its policies and federal law, flagged these uploads, suspended Zanco’s account and notified law enforcement. Thereafter, law enforcement obtained search warrants for Zanco’s residence and his Google account. The search of the Zanco’s Google account uncovered child pornography, and the search of his laptop computer and cell phone revealed additional images and videos of child pornography.
If convicted of the transportation of child pornography count, Zanco faces a mandatory minimum of five years’ imprisonment and a maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment.
The charges in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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)
United States Attorney’s Office