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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 6, 2015

Former School Teacher Sentenced to 60 Years for Producing Child Pornography

GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA – Joseph Michael Diaz, 32, was sentenced today by Senior United States District Judge Maurice M. Paul to 60 years in federal prison for producing child pornography.  The sentence was announced by Pamela C. Marsh, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.

In September 2014, Diaz pled guilty to two counts of enticing and coercing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing child pornography.  Diaz=s offense came to light when a child told his parents that he had been involved in an inappropriate sexual relationship with the defendant.  Diaz was a private swim coach and a teacher at High Springs Community School.  Investigators subsequently identified multiple children who had been sexually abused by the defendant.  Diaz’s cell phones and computer hard drive contained numerous images of the sexual abuse of the children, all of whom were under 16 years of age.  Investigators conducted a forensic examination of the phones, computer, and images, identifying the location and time that each of the videos was created.  The abuse occurred over a period of several years.

In addition to the prison sentence, Diaz was ordered to pay $78,000 in restitution to each of his eight victims.

United States Attorney Marsh praised the work of the Gainesville Police Department and the Child Advocacy Center.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Frank Williams and Gregory McMahon.

“The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is committed to prosecuting child predators,” said United States Attorney Marsh.  “Children are the most vulnerable and innocent members of our district, and it is especially tragic that someone serving as a coach and teacher abused his position of trust in our community.”

“Justice is served,” said Gainesville Police Chief Tony Jones.  “This case shows the partnership between local law enforcement, the Child Advocacy Center, and the United States Attorney’s Office and is only possible because of the hard work of everyone involved.  As a result, Diaz will not be able to victimize another child.”

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched by the Department of Justice in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.  Led by United States Attorneys= Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to 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 United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General.  The office strives to protect and serve the citizens of the Northern District of Florida through the ethical, vigorous, and impartial enforcement of the laws of the United States, to defend the national security, to improve the safety and quality of life in our communities through the protection of civil rights, and to protect the public funds and financial assets of the United States.  To access available public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website.  For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.

Updated March 9, 2015