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Justice News

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

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Former Elmira Teacher Indicted On Child Pornography Charges

CONTACT:      Barbara Burns
PHONE:         (716) 843-5817
FAX:            (716) 551-3051

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that a federal grand jury has indicted Howard Edward Brooks, 39, of Elmira, NY, on charges of receipt, attempted distribution, and possession of child pornography involving prepubescent minors. The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum of 20 years, and a fine of up to $250,000.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig R. Gestring, who is handling the case, stated that according to the indictment and a previously filed complaint, Brooks, a former teacher at the Elmira Christian Academy, was arrested in August, 2015 following the execution of a federal search warrant at his Elmira residence. During that search, FBI agents found several digital items containing photos and videos of children as young as toddlers being raped.
When FBI agents arrived to execute the search warrant, Brooks tried to flush several thumb drives down the toilet. He told the agents he did so because he saw the FBI in his driveway and knew the thumb drives contained child pornography. However, agents recovered the thumb drives from the sewer under the defendant’s residence with the assistance of the Chemung County Department of Public Works. These drives were then forensically analyzed and hundreds of child pornography videos were recovered from each.  
The indictment is the culmination of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Child Exploitation Task Force which includes the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the Rochester Police Department, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations.
The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Updated April 1, 2016