Federal authorities have arrested a Covina school teacher on suspicion of distributing child pornography online.
John David Boyle, a 49-year-old teacher at Royal Oak Middle School, is also suspected of molesting children, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Authorities said Boyle had online chats with an undercover agent, who he believed shared his interest in boys. Boyle allegedly met the agent at his classroom on Sunday. Prosecutors said Boyle thought the two were going to watch child pornography together and engage in sexual activity.
Charter Oaks Unified School Superintendent Mike Hendricks said the district and the school learned about the investigation on Wednesday.
"Upon learning about the troubled allegations, we immediately placed Mr. Boyle on administrative leave from our school district. Last night, we notified our parents about this and we also notified parents that if parents or students have any information that might be relevant to the investigation that they were to call, or are to call a detective who's been assigned to the case at the Covina Police Department and we provided that number," Hendricks said.
Boyle was no longer teaching students at the time of his arrest on Wednesday, since the district's school year ended last week.
When questioned, Boyle told authorities that he has been actively collecting child pornography "for approximately three years, approximately two to three times a week," said assistant U.S. attorney Nicholas Trutanich.
Boyle allowed investigators to take over several of his online accounts, and investigators allegedly found that the accounts were being used to send to other chat room users graphic images of underage boys engaged in sexual acts. Agents also allegedly found child porn videos on Boyle’s computer.
Agents accessed Boyle’s Skype account, which allegedly contained evidence that Boyle had had sexual contact with minors. Hendricks said there is no indication that students at Royal Oak Middle School were victimized. But investigators are still looking into that.
"At this point, investigation is still ongoing," said Trutanich. "Notification has been made to parents in that district, and we are still looking to determine whether or not actual contact was made with any particular student at his school."
Authorities are seeking unknown victims of child molestation related to the case and are asking anyone with information to call 1-866-347-2423 or to submit a tip on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement website.
Boyle is scheduled to appear in court Thursday and it’s not immediately known if he has retained an attorney. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.M
This story has been updated.