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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of New York

Friday, September 23, 2016

Former New York City Public School Teacher Pleads Guilty To Receiving Child Pornography

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that JON CRUZ, a former teacher and debate coach at the Bronx High School for Science, pled guilty today to one count of receiving child pornography.  CRUZ, who was arrested on March 5, 2015, entered his plea before United States District Judge P. Kevin Castel. 

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said:  “Crimes that sexually exploit and victimize children are some of the most disturbing and harmful.  It is particularly so when those entrusted to teach and guide our children in our schools, instead lure and then sexually exploit them.  Jon Cruz, a public school teacher and well-known debate coach, has admitted to doing just that, having now pled guilty to receiving child pornography.”

According to the Complaint, the Indictment, and other documents filed in the case, as well as statements made during the plea proceedings:

From July 2014 through December 2015, JON CRUZ, while employed as a teacher and debate coach at Bronx High School for Science, engaged in multiple chats over a mobile communication application and social media service with at least five minor victims from different states.  In those chats, CRUZ, who was aware of the ages of the victims, provided payments to the victims in exchange for sexually explicit photographs of themselves. 

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CRUZ, 33, of New York, New York, pled guilty to one count of receiving child pornography, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.  The maximum potential sentence in this case is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Bharara praised the investigative work of the FBI in this matter.

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Shawn G. Crowley is in charge of the prosecution.  

Project Safe Childhood
Updated September 23, 2016