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June 14, 2019Seattle, United StatesChild Exploitation

Elementary music teacher charged with possession of child pornography

Use of online messaging system to exchange sexually explicit images leads to court-authorized search warrant and arrest

SEATTLE – A Federal Way, Washington, man was arrested this morning for possession of child pornography and made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Seattle this afternoon, Special Agent in Charge Brad Bench of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Seattle Field Office and U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran announced today. Christopher Scott Newcombe, 35, has worked as a music teacher in a variety of public and charter schools in the Puget Sound region. Currently, he is an elementary music teacher in the Renton School District.

According to records filed in the case, KIK screens for explicit images on its messaging system and forwards information on those images to law enforcement. In November 2018, HSI was alerted to the transmitting of sexually explicit images of young boys involving an internet protocol address ultimately traced to Newcombe. Law enforcement obtained a search warrant for Newcombe’s digital devices. The warrant was executed this morning, and Newcombe was charged with possession of images of child pornography.

“Victims of this type of abuse are often left with both permanent emotional and physical scars. When a criminal places a record of that abuse online or in other public forums, the abuse continues and can resurface throughout the victim’s life, said Brad Bench, special agent in charge of HSI Seattle. HSI is committed to finding, and bringing to justice, those who exploit children and stopping this horrendous cycle of abuse.”

Newcombe’s current teaching position is at Renton’s Cascade Elementary School, but his social media profiles indicate prior teaching positions at schools in Tacoma, Federal Way, and Bainbridge Island.

Since Newcombe has been employed as a music teacher, HSI is asking that those who have concerns and wish to communicate with law enforcement call (206) 442-1469 or email ICE has also created a smartphone app – the first of its kind in U.S. federal law enforcement – designed to seek the public's help with fugitive and unknown suspect child predators. The Operation Predator app enables users to receive alerts about wanted predators, to share the information with friends via email and social media tools, and to provide information to HSI by calling or submitting an online tip. Additionally, the app allows users to view news about arrests and prosecutions of child predators and additional resources about ICE and its global partners in the fight against child exploitation. The iOS version of the app can be downloaded from Apple's App Store and iTunes.

The charges contained in the complaint are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources better to 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, please visit

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Matthew Hampton.