El Paso Diocesan School Board member facing child exploitation charges
POSTED: Wednesday, August 6, 2014 - 11:43am
UPDATED: Friday, August 8, 2014 - 1:22pm
El Paso, TX (KTSM) — A board member in the El Paso Catholic Diocese School is facing serious charges involving kids.
53-year-old Victor Jerome Reza is accused of having child pornography on his home computer.
"Mr. Reza did you know that those pictures were of underage kids,” journalists asks Reza.
He did not say much about the charges he's facing. The 53-year-old is now charged with possessing and distributing child exploitation materials.
"It's videos, it's pictures, it's images of children,” Leticia Zamarippa, a Spokesperson for HSI and ICE said. "Homeland Security Investigation or HSI special agents assigned to our cyber-crimes unit arrested Victor Jerome Reza yesterday at his home."
Reza works in the IT department for El Paso Catholic Diocese and is also is a member of the Diocese School Board. Gloria Villareal works closely with kids as a school counselor for EPISD and knows how damaging it can be when positions of authority are abused. "It's very sad to see people like that serving on our boards to help out the community,” Gloria Villareal, who is also a mother of four, tells us.
We also reached out to the Catholic Diocese several times -- to learn just how closely Reza worked with kids and at which schools. We even went to the diocese to try and get answers, but our questions were not answered. Instead, they released a statement saying all board members undergo a criminal background check. They go on to say, “We have diligently worked to make our parishes and schools safe from predators,” the Diocese says in a statement.
At this point, it's unknown just how much child pornography was found on Reza's home computer. Federal agents say they're working to identify and locate the victims.
They add the child porn was also shared with others on the internet. Reza remains behind bars and El Pasoans want justice to be served. "Zero tolerance for that,” Villareal tells us.
We don't know if any of the images were of kids in El Paso. If this case sounds familiar that's because, just a few years ago, a youth minister was charged with the same crime. This is the second time in two years a member of the catholic diocese has been accused of having child porn. As you may recall, Joe Tapia, a former Lower Valley Youth Minister, was convicted of the crime. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison in January of 2013.