Former Hopkins County Teacher Indicted on Child Sexual Exploitation Violations
TYLER, Texas – A 38-year-old former Hopkins County school teacher has been indicted for child exploitation charges in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.
Lucas R. Hill, formerly of Sulphur Springs, Texas, has been named in a three-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury on July 15, 2015 charging him with producing child pornography, enticing and coercing a minor, and transferring obscene matter to a child younger than 16 years of age.
The indictment was unsealed today and Hill is scheduled to make his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Don D. Bush on July 22, 2015.
According to the indictment and information presented in court, earlier this year, law enforcement officials were notified by a family who had discovered that an unknown individual had created an account on the social media site, Facebook, using images of their minor son. An investigation revealed that an individual accessed the account from Hill’s residence in Sulphur Springs, Texas. At the time, Hill was a teacher with the Cumby Independent School District. Hill is alleged to have created the Facebook account under the fictitious name, “Aaron Cage,” and posed as a teenage boy by utilizing photographs of another minor male, without that minor’s knowledge or consent. From at least October 2013, Hill is alleged to have contacted a number of minor females, including children who may have attended Cumby schools, through the fictitious “Aaron Cage” Facebook page. Hill chatted with the females and persuaded them to engage in sexually explicit conduct, including producing images and videos of themselves engaged in sexual activity.
If convicted, Hill faces a minimum of 10 years and up to life in federal prison.
Any minors who may have had contact with “Aaron Cage” are urged to contact Victim-Witness Coordinator Judy Daigle at the U.S. Attorney’s Office at 1-800-804-3547. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will take the necessary steps to protect all minors’ identities and confidential information.
This case is being prosecuted as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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.
This case is being investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, the Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office, and the Sulphur Springs Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa J. Miller.
It is important to note that an indictment should not be considered as evidence of guilt and that all persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.