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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 20, 2017

Former New York City Public School Teacher Sentenced To 7 Years In Prison For Receiving Child Pornography

Joon H. Kim, the Acting 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, was sentenced today to seven years in prison for receiving images containing child pornography from minor teenage boys. CRUZ was initially arrested on March 6, 2015, and pled guilty on September 23, 2016, to one count of receipt of child pornography. He was sentenced today in federal court by U.S. District Court Judge P. Kevin Castel.

Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “Jon Cruz, a high school teacher and debate coach, abused his position of trust and access to children in frightening way. He not only sought and purchased images of victims whom he knew to be underage, he also masqueraded online as one of his teen students to disguise his misdeeds. Today, he was sentenced to a lengthy prison term for his crimes. We will continue to do everything in our power to identify and stop those who solicit, produce and receive child pornography.”

According to the allegations contained in the Complaint and the Indictment as well as public court filings and statements made in connection with the plea and sentencing proceedings:

For years leading up to his arrest in March 2015, JON CRUZ, while employed as a teacher and debate coach at the Bronx High School for Science, engaged in multiple chats over a mobile communication application and social media service with minor victims from different states. CRUZ, who was aware of the victims’ ages, provided thousands of dollars in payments to the victims in exchange for nude and lascivious photographs of themselves. CRUZ often concealed his identity and posed as a teenager, using a photograph of a former student without that student’s knowledge, to create the online accounts he used to communicate with his victims.

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In addition to his prison term, CRUZ, 34, of New York, New York, was sentenced to 10 years of supervised release, and ordered to provide $12,200 in restitution to his victims.

Mr. Kim thanked the Federal Bureau of Investigation for its work on the investigation. To report an incident involving the possession, distribution, receipt, or production of child pornography, file a report on the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s website at www.cybertipline.com, or call 1-800-843-5678. Your report will be forwarded to a law enforcement agency for investigation and action.

The case is being prosecuted by the Office’s General Crimes Crime Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Shawn Crowley is in charge of the prosecution.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Press Release Number: 
17-224
Updated July 20, 2017