New York City School Guidance Counselor And Union Representative Pleads Guilty To Transportation Of Child Pornography
Earlier today, John Capuano, a New York City school guidance counselor and teacher’s union representative, pled guilty at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, New York, to Transportation of Child Pornography in Interstate and Foreign Commerce. Today’s plea proceeding took place before United States Magistrate Judge Gary R. Brown. At sentencing, Capuano faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum of 20 years.
The guilty plea was announced by Robert L. Capers, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.
“Protecting the vulnerable, particularly children, is a priority for law enforcement and this Office,” stated United States Attorney Capers. “This crime was particularly egregious in that Capuano was a school guidance counselor entrusted with ensuring the safety and wellbeing of children while he at the same time was victimizing them by distributing images of child pornography.” Mr. Capers thanked the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), for its assistance in the investigation.
As set forth in the charging instruments and the defendant’s plea allocution, in April 2015, an undercover HSI agent, as part of an ongoing effort to locate individuals sharing child pornography, found child pornography images and videos involving children as young as 3-5 years’ old which had been posted by Capuano to a chat room in a publicly available Internet application. After tracing location information for the account used to post the images, law enforcement obtained a search warrant and executed on May 28, 2015, at Capuano’s residence in Valley Stream, New York.
During the search, Capuano spoke with law enforcement personnel following a waiver of his Miranda rights and admitted that he used the Internet application to trade child pornography and posted the images located by the undercover agent. Capuano also identified his personal telephone and his work telephone as a teacher’s union representative as devices he used to access these materials. Capuano was arrested and remains incarcerated.
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, 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 Allen Bode is in charge of the prosecution.
Valley Stream, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 15 CR 312 (DRH)