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Child Exploitation

Fresno-area grade school teacher faces federal child pornography charges

FRESNO, Calif. – Federal child pornography charges have been filed against a Clovis, Calif., elementary school teacher who allegedly used his cell phone on multiple occasions to record sexual abuse of a minor.

Neng Yang, 43, of Fresno, Calif., made his initial appearance in federal court Monday. Yang is charged in a criminal complaint with production of child pornography. According to the complaint, Yang, a teacher at Freedom Elementary within the Clovis Unified School District, allegedly used his cell phone to record his sexual abuse of a minor on multiple occasions, between January 3 and January 26.

The case is the result of an investigation by the San Joaquin Valley's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, specifically the Clovis Police Department and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

"This case is particularly disturbing because the suspect teaches young children and is in a position of trust," said Paul Leonardi, resident agent in charge of HSI Fresno. "Our concern is for other potential victims in our community. HSI will continue to work closely with our law enforcement partners to identify and bring to justice those who prey upon and sexually exploit innocent children."

If convicted of the charge, Yang faces a mandatory prison term of between 15 and 30 years, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime term of supervised release. The charges are only allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

The investigation is part of HSI's Operation Predator, a nationwide initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who sexually exploit children, and Project Safe Childhood (PSC), a Department of Justice effort launched in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.

As part of Operation Predator, HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423. 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.

Led by U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section in the Justice Department's Criminal Division, PSC marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov or call the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California and ask to speak with the PSC coordinator.