Former Fort Worth High School Teacher in Federal Custody on Federal Felony Child Pornography Charge
FORT WORTH, Texas — Matthew Anthony Keller, 24, of Watauga, Texas, who, according to police reports, taught at Southwest High School in Fort Worth, Texas, remains in federal custody following his arrest Friday on a federal complaint charging receipt of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney John Parker of the Northern District of Texas.
Keller made his initial appearance in federal court today in Fort Worth, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey L. Cureton, who ordered that he remain in custody pending a detention hearing set for tomorrow, July 6, 2016.
According to the just-unsealed complaint, the investigation began last month when the parents of a 15-year-old male (MV1) notified a police department in Macomb County, Michigan, that they had discovered a relationship between their son and Keller. The parent advised that Keller was a 24-year-old high school teacher and youth pastor who exchanged nude photos and videos with MV1 for approximately 18 months. The parent was further concerned because it was discovered that Keller planned to fly from Texas to Michigan and possibly meet with MV1 for a sexual encounter.
As the investigation progressed, the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office learned that Keller met the minor victim, who first advised him he was 18-years-old and then later admitted he was 13-years-old, on a website approximately two years ago. When a search warrant was conducted at Keller’s residence in Watauga, law enforcement seized a computer from his bedroom. A forensic analysis of that computer revealed a nude, sexually explicit video of the minor victim.
A federal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offenses charged and must be made under oath before a magistrate judge. A defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The maximum statutory penalty for the offense as charged is not less than five years or up to 20 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Project Safe Childhood (PSC) initiative. PSC is a department initiative launched in May 2006 to combat the proliferation of technology-facilitated sexual exploitation crimes against children. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, PSC marshals federal, state, tribal and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. Since FY 2011, the Department of Justice has filed 20,260 PSC cases against 19,111 defendants. These cases include prosecutions of child sex trafficking; sexual abuse of a minor or ward; child pornography offenses; obscene visual representation of the sexual abuse of children; selling or buying of children; and many more statutes. To learn more about PSC’s work, please visit: https://www.justice.gov/psc.
Anyone who may have been victimized in this case is asked to contact U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) at its toll-free number: 1-866-347-2423.
ICE HSI, the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office, the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office, and the Eastpointe, Michigan Police Department are investigating.
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