GONZALES —John Raymond Williams, the former seventh-grade science teacher charged with possession or promotion of child pornography (30 counts), received a new trial date of Nov. 22 during Friday’s proceedings before District Judge W.C. Kirkendall.
On May 15, investigators with the Attorney General’s Cyber Crimes Unit (CCU) executed a search warrant at a residence on St. Paul Street in Gonzales. Later in the day, investigators arrested Williams, 52, after a daylong search conducted at his residence.
According to the Gonzales ISD website, Williams had five years of teaching experience, and was certified to teach fourth through eighth grades. In information about Williams, the website said he was a music/worship leader at a local church.
Attorney General Gregg Abbott’s office reported that the CCU’s investigation of Williams originated with a referral from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Based on the referral, CCU investigators identified Williams as the suspect who appeared to have illegally uploaded child pornography images to a social networking website.
The search led to the confiscation of computers and digital media. The officers also conducted a search of Williams’ classroom and school-issued computer. CCU investigators conducted an initial forensic examination on a flash drive, and discovered several images of child pornography. Officers then confiscated the school-issued computer and flash drive for further forensic review.
Williams faces five third-degree felony counts of child pornography possession, each punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Bond was set at $40,000 on each of the five counts.
“...Gonzales ISD was made aware of an investigation by the state of Texas of alleged misconduct by a teacher employed in the district,” GISD Superintendent Dr. Kim Strozier said in a prepared statement at the time of Williams’ arrest. “We have worked proactively and cooperated with the state investigation, and will continue to do so.
Williams was immediately removed from active teaching status, but he has since been released from custody on bond.
“We are not aware of our student population being victims, and have no evidence of the alleged misconduct being related to GISD or its students. Though there is no evidence of issues related to this individual’s misconduct in our district, our students and staff are obviously very upset. We have our counselors available for students and staff as needed.
“We are deeply disappointed with this situation,” Strozier continued. “Our focus is to support our students and faculty. The state of Texas currently provides for instruction in situations that could be deemed inappropriate. We also have an excellent school health advisory council that provides training for students and staff in how to voice concerns of inappropriate activity. Education and communication are key to keeping our students safe. We will continue to provide for knowledge in Internet safety, stranger danger and reporting of inappropriate conduct.”
Any parent who believes their child may have been the victim of inappropriate conduct through school or church contact with the defendant should contact Gonzales Police Department at 830-672-8686.