THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF TEXAS
Ken Paxton

Friday, June 22, 2007

Former Del Valle Teacher Pleads Guilty to Child Pornography Charges

AUSTIN Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s Cyber Crimes Unit prosecutors have obtained a guilty plea from a former Del Valle High School teacher who acquired numerous computer images and a videotape of children engaged in sexual conduct.

Former geometry teacher Leland Keith Easterling, 60, of Austin, pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of child pornography and one count of receipt of child pornography. He was indicted on the charges by a federal grand jury last month. The punishment for receipt of child pornography is from five to 20 years in federal prison and up to a $250,000 fine. The range of punishment for possession of child pornography is up to 10 years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine. Easterling will be sentenced at a later date.

Texans will not tolerate child pornographers who prey upon our children, said Attorney General Abbott. The Cyber Crimes Unit will continue cracking down on sexual predators and child pornographers. This case demonstrates that these criminals can be anywhere.

At the time of his arrest, Easterling possessed more than 375 computer images of child pornography and nine digital video files of children engaged in sexual conduct. Easterling consented to a search of his computer, where investigators found the illegal images. The joint investigation by Attorney General Abbott’s Cyber Crimes Unit and U.S. Postal Service inspectors also uncovered a mail-order movie depicting a 13- or 14-year-old girl engaged in sexual acts with an adult male teacher in a classroom. Easterling confessed to ordering the videotape by mail.

Attorney General Abbott has earned a national reputation for aggressively arresting and prosecuting child predators. In 2003, he launched the Cyber Crimes Unit, which protects children from online sexual exploitation. The Cyber Crimes Unit and the Fugitive Unit, which locates sex offenders who have violated the terms of their parole and could be stalking children, have combined to arrest almost 600 sex offenders. His office also has obtained convictions against more than 60 men on child pornography charges.

For more information, contact the Office of the Attorney General at (800) 252-8011 or visit the Attorney General’s Web site at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov.