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Child Exploitation

Dallas high school teacher arrested on federal child pornography charge

DALLAS - An English teacher at Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas was arrested on Tuesday and charged in a criminal complaint with receiving child pornography. The arrest was announced by U.S. Attorney James T. Jacks of the Northern District of Texas. The case is being investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Jon Leslie Lyons, 44, had his initial appearance on Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeff Kaplan. He remains in custody pending his June 11detention hearing.

According to the affidavit filed with the complaint, last month a Dallas Independent School District (DISD) employee notified ICE that child pornography had possibly been discovered on a DISD computer assigned to Lyons.

Soon afterward, an ICE special agent met with the DISD employee who made the referral after seeing images of girls exposing genitalia and posing in a lewd and lascivious manner that had been recently forensically recovered from Lyon's work computer.

Several ICE special agents then met Lyons at his Dallas apartment near the school and conducted a consensual interview. During that interview Lyons said that he had images of 13- to 16-year-old nude teens, and images of girls engaged in sexually explicit conduct on his home desktop computer and Apple iPhone. He also stated that he had downloaded child pornography from the Internet to his iPhone the previous day.

"We are thankful that the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Attorney's Office reacted so quickly after we provided them information in this case. If any parent or child has additional information that might be helpful to investigators, we ask that they contact the school or the proper authorities," said Jon Dahlander, Dallas ISD, Director News and Information.

A federal complaint is a written statement of the essential facts of the offenses charged, and must be made under oath before a magistrate judge. A defendant is entitled to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. The penalty for receiving child pornography is a maximum statutory sentence, per count, of not less than five or more than 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and a lifetime of supervised release. The U.S. Attorney's office has 30 days to present the matter to a grand jury for indictment.

The case is being investigated by ICE, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa J. Miller, Northern District of Texas.

This investigation is part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 12,800 individuals.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.

This case was also brought 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 U.S. Attorneys' offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.

For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov