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Child Exploitation

Former Idaho high school teacher sentenced on child pornography charges stemming from ICE probe

BOISE, Idaho - A former marketing teacher and tennis coach at Borah High School in Boise, Idaho, was sentenced today to 32 months in federal prison and 20 years of supervised released following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that revealed sexually explicit images of underage boys on two school district computers the defendant kept at his home.

Ronald Keith Neil, 41, of Boise, pleaded guilty in federal court in February 2008 to charges of possession of child pornography. In September 2007, ICE agents searched Neil's home and seized two computers. When agents entered the house, one of the computers was in the process of downloading a pornographic video of teenage males.

During a forensic analysis of Neil's computer, ICE agents discovered videos and still images of young boys, some of them prepubescent, engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Further analysis by the National Center Missing and Exploited Children confirmed that some of the images were known victims of child pornography living throughout the United States and in Russia.

Neil, who had been employed by the Boise School District for 12 years, was placed on administrative leave in September 2007. He resigned his teaching position three months later.

"This case illustrates the importance ICE agents place on investigations of predators who seek to exploit children via the Internet," said Leigh Winchell, special agent in charge of ICE's office of investigations that oversees Idaho. "ICE remains committed to protecting those who cannot protect themselves, and the victims of sexual exploitation are at the top of that list."

ICE agents learned of Neil's illegal activity after a separate ICE investigation revealed he had been using his credit card and e-mail address since 2002 to access child pornography websites. This investigation, dubbed "Operation Falcon," focused on a company that provided billing services for 50 different child pornography websites. "Operation Falcon" has resulted in more than 160 arrests in the United States and more than 1,000 arrests worldwide.