The U.S. Attorney's Office just sent word that 44-year-old Jon Leslie Lyons, who has been teaching English at Woodrow Wilson High School for three years, was arrested and charged yesterday with possessing child pornography, some involving children under the age of 5. According to an affidavit filed today by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent, the feds were tipped off last month by a Dallas Independent School District employee who thought Lyons might have been keeping some of his downloads on a district computer.
According to the affidavit, a district administrative investigator, Dwain Pridemore, told the agent that Lyons was already serving a suspension for "making sexually inappropriate comments around students." That investigation is still pending. But on June 1, the ICE agent and Pridemore did indeed uncover "images of prepubescent females exposing genitalia and posing in lewd and lascivious manners" on Lyons's work computer.
One week later, several special agents went to Lyons's apartment -- which is but one block from Woodrow -- and interviewed him. At which point, says the affidavit, he admitted "he had images of 13-16 year-old nude teens, as well as images of prepubescent females, engaged in sexually explicit conduct on his home desktop computer and Apple iPhone." Says the criminal complaint, the teacher had more than 500 graphic images -- the result, Lyons said, of his "morbid fascination with the forbidden."
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Says district spokesman Jon Dahlander, "We are thankful that the Office 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."
He's being kept in custody pending his 1:30 p.m. court date Friday with U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeff Kaplan.
Update at 5:49 p.m.: On the other side is a letter that was just sent to parents by Woodrow principal Ruth Vail.
June 9, 2010
Earlier today, the U.S. Attorney's Office today presented a case before the U.S. Magistrate about a teacher from Woodrow Wilson High School who was arrested for child pornography. The English teacher had been turned into authorities by the school district after some of our students reported to administrators that he was acting suspiciously and making inappropriate comments.
Once this complaint by students was made, the teacher was placed on administrative leave immediately.
Yesterday, a special agent for Homeland Security interviewed this teacher at his home where he admitted to possessing child pornography. He is, of course, being recommended for termination.
Like all of you, we are as stunned, disappointed and angry as anyone. Please know that there had been no prior indicators to our knowledge that this individual may have been targeting any of our students. If, however, you believe that you or your child has information that might be helpful to investigators, do not hesitate to call us.
Again, we are extremely disappointed and we ask for your continued support of our wonderful school during this time.