54-Year-Old Former California Youth Counselor Sentenced to 29 years in Prison for Producing Child Pornography
For nearly a decade, Thomas Perez Jewell, 54, worked for Contra Costa Health Services' mental health division; he was assigned at the Juvenile Hall in Martinez CA. According to his current and former co-workers, in July 2009, accusations that he was using his work computer to access a website soliciting prostitution were brought to his supervisors. His superiors took no disciplinary action. In the same year, his work earned him the recognition as a "Man of Merit," an honor awarded by state and local organizations fighting against domestic violence.
His former clients offered mixed reviews about his effectiveness, but he was generally described as “professional.”
Court documents reveal that Jewell came to the attention of the authorities when he was suspected of distributing and possessing child pornography. The files were downloaded to his home computer. A search of his home, performed by a multiagency team of investigators, was led by the Pleasant Hill police. Under the mattress in his bedroom, several digital storage devices contained a "vast amount of child pornography.” More than 13,000 pornographic images of juvenile victims were found.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, the former counselor admitted to sexually molesting two minors and to filming the molestations. Joshua Hill, Assistant U.S. Attorney, wrote in the sentencing memorandum that Jewell lured one of his victims "with the promise of professional counseling" and the other with the opportunity to earn money.
The District Attorney's Office has amended its single complaint, including 46 counts of molestation of a child between 12 and 15 years old, and one count each of posing a child for the purposes of pornography and showing pornographic material to a minor. Two of the molestation counts were detailed as aggravated sexual assault. Jewell was indicted by a federal grand jury on Dec. 9, 2010. He was charged with production, transportation and possession of child pornography. He pleaded guilty in a federal court in Oakland to producing child pornography. He also pleaded guilty to 11 felony sex crime counts for molesting three boys, two of whom were under his supervision.
Jewell was sentenced to 29 years in prison and ordered to pay $234,000 in restitution for producing child pornography. He was sentenced to be supervised for the rest of his life if he is ever released from prison. Pursuant to state and federal law, Jewell will be required to register as a sex offender.
For information and tips on how to protect your children online, see Travis Morgan’s book titled “Catch Me If You Know How - Internet Edition” or visit the “Catch Me If You Know How” website at http://www.CatchMeIfYouKnowHow.com
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