Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced Monday that 25-year-old Timothy Bek of West Seneca pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara, to production and possession of child pornography.
The charges carry a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in prison, a maximum of life, a $250,000 or both.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Maura K. O'Donnell, who is handling the case, stated that the defendant, a former teacher at a number of area schools, posed as a female teenager on a social networking website. Bek used the fictitious identity to make contact with underage victims, some of whom were students in the schools where Bek taught. Once contact was made, the defendant persuaded the victims to take explicit photos and videos of themselves. The defendant further convinced the victims to send these images over the internet and via text messaging. The images of these underage victims were subsequently found on computers owned by the defendant.
The images were discovered by law enforcement during the execution of a search warrant in connection with the arrest of the defendant's brother, Jason Bek. In December 2011, Jason Bek pleaded guilty to coercion and enticement of a minor and receipt of child pornography and is awaiting sentencing in April 2012.
"This case is a good example of why it is so important for parents to discuss online safety with their children," Hochul said in a news release. "All students at both the elementary and high school levels need to know of the potential dangers lurking online. While our Office will continue to work with our federal, state and local law enforcement partners to prosecute these crimes, both parents and students should know that their best defense is simply not to send explicit pictures over the internet."