On Wednesday, a Utah school board member was arrested on charges of using social media to solicit child pornography from students, the Daily Caller reports.
The suspect is 29-year-old Joel-Lehi Organista, who had recently been elected to the Salt Lake City School Board after having previously taught at Horizonte High School. He faces eight felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. The authorities were led to him by a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which alleged that Organista had child pornography downloaded onto his Dropbox account. A subsequent search of his computer confirmed this, and Organista was arrested.
Following his arrest, he “admitted to having downloaded, viewed, and kept the images and videos containing child pornography.” One of his chief tactics was to use the social media app SnapChat to message children between the ages of 12 and 17, asking them for nude photos and other inappropriate material. He first started sending such messages and downloading such content in January, shortly after he became the youngest board member in the board’s history upon his election in January.
Organista was born in Mexico City, Mexico, before immigrating to the United States and settling in Salt Lake City, Utah. Prior to his election to the board, he had served on the Advisory Committee on Equity for the Utah State Board of Education, had received an award from the far-left American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Utah, and was a youth leader in Utah’s chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens. He also served as an instructor at the University of Utah in the Ethnic Studies department, teaching a class on “decolonized leadership.”
In an affidavit written by Salt Lake City police, it is stated that “Joel-Lehi Organista has access to young children in his current position of trust involving grades K-12. Joel has shown that, through electronic means, he frequently meets children online, solicits nude photographs from them, and has private online video conversations with them.”
Organista is currently being held without bail, with the affidavit pointing out that he could have a motive to flee back to Mexico if he were released.