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Child Exploitation
10/22/2020

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Former Southeast Texas elementary teacher admits to explicit sexual conversations with minors

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A former Southeast Texas elementary teacher pleaded guilty Thursday to transferring obscene materials to a minor.

This investigation was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Corpus Christi, Texas, Texas Department of Public Safety and the Corpus Christi Police Department Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Lazaro Benito Rocha, 27, a resident of Odom, Texas, admitted Oct. 22 that he had responded to an ad on Craigslist advertising a “good time” with a teenage girl. He continued communicating with whom he thought was a 14-year-old female, which soon escalated into conversations of an explicit sexual nature via text messaging.

Using his cell phone, Rocha eventually sent a photograph of his genitals.

The investigation revealed he was a part-time elementary music teacher at the Incarnate Word Academy in Corpus Christi.

Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 25, 2021. At that time, Rocha faces up to 10 years in federal prison as well as a possible $250,000 maximum fine.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Popejoy is prosecuting the case.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE; TTY for hearing impaired: (802) 872-6196. This hotline is staffed around-the-clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may also be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-843-5678 or https://report.cybertip.org/.

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Last Reviewed/Updated: 10/23/2020