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Justice News

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

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Former Teacher Sentenced to Federal Prison on Child Pornography Convictions

HOUSTON – Derrick Gossett, 34, of Humble, has been ordered to prison following his convictions on two counts of production of child pornography, announced United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson. At the time of the offense, he was a music teacher at Anderson Elementary School in the Spring Independent School District (ISD). Gossett pleaded guilty Aug. 4, 2014.

Today, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes handed Gossett a sentence of 15 years in federal prison to be immediately followed by 15 years of supervised release. He will also be ordered to register as a sex offender.

According to court records, Gossett used a Facebook profile he developed based on a former female student to solicit sexually explicit photographs that constituted child pornography from more than 150 young males. Gossett regularly used images he received from victims to extort additional images/videos containing child pornography. Not only did Gossett use the biographical information of a former student to elicit the child pornography images/videos from his victims, he created a fictitious woman “Katya” to communicate with and further manipulate the children. Victims have been identified throughout Texas, across the United States and in several foreign countries.

“While the Internet is a wonderful tool for connecting with others it can also a very dangerous place, especially for children,” said Magidson. “Adults, parents, older siblings and caregivers need to be vigilant in their efforts to protect our children online. We need to teach them about these dangers and what information should and should not be shared via the Internet.”

Authorities obtained a search warrant for Gossett’s residence, at which time authorities seized a laptop computer, several thumb drives, cell phones and digital cameras. One external portable hard drive, found in a lock box inside Gosset’s residence, was forensically analyzed and contained hundreds of files with images depicting different young males, ranging in age from I2 to I7 and in various stages of undress.

Gossett will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The case was investigated by the Harris County Precinct 4 Constables Office, Homeland Security Investigations and the Houston Metro Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force with the assistance of the Spring ISD Police Department. The matter was brought as part of as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the 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 sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sherri L. Zack.

Updated July 7, 2015