Investigators discover illicit sexual images of children on flash drive in Gonzales teacher’s classroom
A Gonzales junior high teacher and church worship leader remains in the Gonzales County Jail, charged with five counts of possession of child pornography and held on $200,000 in bond.
John Raymond Williams, a seventh-grade science teacher at Gonzales Junior High and a music and worship leader at Faith Family Church in Gonzales, was arrested Wednesday in a raid by state officials.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbot’s office confirmed Thursday that investigators with the Cyber Crimes Unit (CCU) executed a search warrant at a residence on St. Paul Street in Gonzales early Wednesday. Later in the day, investigators arrested Williams, 52, after a daylong search conducted at his residence.
According to the Gonzales ISD website, Williams has five years teaching experience, and is certified to teach fourth through eighth grades. In information about Williams, the website says he is a music/worship leader at Faith Family Church, and that his wife and at least two of his children also volunteer at the church.
The AG’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 NCMEC 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 2 to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. Bond was set at $40,000 on each of the five counts.
“Yesterday, 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 Thursday. “We have worked proactively and cooperated with the state investigation, and will continue to do so.
“We cannot comment on details pertaining to this issue, as there is an ongoing investigation. We can report that this individual is no longer at school,” she said. “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.”