Updated 

Former school employee charged with possessing child porn


A former worker at the Spring Valley Montessori School was charged Wednesday in federal court with receiving and possessing child pornography.

John-Benedict Galang Alcantara, 24, who defense lawyers said has a history of mental problems, turned himself in to federal authorities Wednesday morning on the felony charges.

Following an afternoon hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Cam Ferenbach, Alcantara was ordered released on his own recognizance but with several restrictions, including home detention under the care of his mother, the director of the school. He also was ordered to have no access to computers or cellphones.

Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Allison Herr said investigators found child pornography on his bedroom computer at his mother’s home and on four computers at the Montessori school, which caters to children up to age 14. In his bedroom, investigators also found a life-size doll dressed as a child on his bed and cartoon images of child erotica on the walls.

Alcantara was a physical education teacher and computer expert at the school, Herr said. He confessed that he’d been downloading child pornography off the Internet for two years, she said.

The prosecutor sought to have Alcantara detained as a threat to the community, but the judge said the conditions of his release were enough. Defense lawyer Dayvid Figler asked Ferenbach to close the hearing and seal the criminal complaint, but Ferenbach refused. Figler said Alcantara has had mental health issues his entire life and spent time at a state-run psychiatric facility in April.

His family removed him from working at the school after it learned he had come under criminal investigation, Figler said.

Ferenbach set a July 16 preliminary hearing on the charges. Prosecutors could ask a federal grand jury to indict him before the hearing.

 

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