Former Las Cruces middle school principal indicted for child pornography


LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) – A grand jury has indicted a former Las Cruces middle school principal for child pornography, the Las Cruces Sun-News reports.

The indictment against former Zia Middle School Principal Joel Aguilar Villanueva was filed in federal court on Wednesday.

As KTSM previously reported, Villanueva, 42, was arrested in April for allegedly possessing and sharing nearly 200 pornographic videos, with some victims as young as four years old.

A criminal complaint obtained by KTSM states that one video featured a boy between the ages of 12 and 16 with his private areas exposed and performing a sexual act with another male.

According to the criminal complaint, the video’s caption read “aprenden rapido,” which translates in English to “they learn quickly.”

In April, Las Cruces Public Schools released the following statement:

Yesterday, one Las Cruces Public Schools employee was arrested and has been detained by law enforcement. The District immediately removed this employee from his duties and he has been placed on indefinite leave status.

The district has initiated an internal investigation of this matter, and LCPS is fully cooperating with law enforcement. The safety and security of students is always our top concern.

The district has no information at this time that indicates any LCPS students were involved. Nevertheless, the district has granted investigators access to school technology and other information. This remains an active investigation. Due to the serious nature of the allegations, we are exercising our own due diligence and conducting our own internal investigation.

Superintendent Greg Ewing said he appreciates all of the dedicated teachers and administrators in the district. We continue to offer support to all schools, students, teachers, administrators and staff.

LCPS is committed to providing the best education possible for our students, and we thank our community for its ongoing support.

Officials say Villanueva faces five to 20 years in prison for the transportation charge, and a maximum of 20 years on the possession charge.

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