L.A. teacher indicted on child porn charges

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) – An eighth-grade teacher at Royal Oak Middle School in Covina who allegedly met an undercover agent in his classroom so they could look at child pornography was indicted Tuesday on multiple federal charges.

John David Boyle, 49, of Glendora, was arrested June 5 by agents with Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. According to federal prosecutors, he was indicted today on six charges, including enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity over the Internet, leading to the molestation of a 14-year-old boy.

He was also indicted on charges of advertising child pornography on the Internet and distribution, receipt, attempted receipt and possession of child pornography, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

He was scheduled to be arraigned July 11.

During a bond hearing after his arrest, U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephen J. Hillman ruled that Boyle must remain in custody pending trial.

The judge said prosecutors had presented “likely evidence of actual contact with at least one minor.”

However, defense attorney Anthony Solis argued that such evidence — text messages in which Boyle allegedly refers to a past “hook-up” with a school-age boy — is mere “fantasy” and proves nothing.

“There is some element of fantasy in his conversations,” Solis told the court, adding that the text messages offer no proof that “hands-on sexual contact ever happened.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Trutanich told Hillman that newly obtained text messages from Boyle’s cell phone allegedly show conversations between the teacher and at least one schoolboy, and between the teacher and the undercover agent in which he apparently brags about recent sexual contact with a child.

In a text apparently to that boy, Boyle allegedly asks him to “cut school” and meet him for another date, the prosecutor said. The boy declined.

Trutanich said that in a later message to the undercover, Boyle is referring to the same child when he texts that he “hooked up with a boy six weeks ago.”

The prosecutor said that in another text conversation with the undercover agent, Boyle discusses a different student as “a boy I really like” who is “so cute,” but one with whom he has not had sexual contact.

The undercover texts back: “I’m sure you will bring him along just right,” which Trutanich said was a reference to the well-known “grooming” behavior of child predators.

Boyle allegedly answers: “I’m trying.”

Solis, though, countered that the texts were “innocuous. This is not some pedophile grooming a potential target for a sexual assault.”

Prosecutors contend that during the course of the investigation, Boyle engaged in online chats with the undercover operative in the belief that the agent shared his sexual interest in young boys, according to a federal affidavit.

Boyle set up an in-person meeting with the undercover agent in his classroom at the school last month, believing the purpose of the meeting was to engage in sexual activity while watching child pornography together, the document stated.

When the undercover agent arrived and presented Boyle with child pornography, he took possession of it. At that time, other agents entered the classroom to interview Boyle.

While Boyle was not arrested at that time, he made statements to investigators and allowed them to take over several of his online accounts, which included “JuniorHighCoachyahoo.com,” according to prosecutors.

Agents looking into the account discovered that Boyle had used the Internet to distribute child pornography, the complaint alleged.

Agents were also able to access Boyle’s Skype account, where they found evidence that he may have had sexual contact with minors, prosecutors contend.

He faces up to life in prison if convicted, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

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