Middle School Teacher Charged with Attempting to Purchase Live Video Sex Shows Involving Filipino Children
BOSTON—A Middle School teacher was charged today in U.S. District Court in Worcester with attempting to purchase live video sex shows involving Filipino children.
Scott Peeler, 53, who resides in Worcester, was charged in a criminal complaint with attempting to entice and coerce a minor to engage in sexual activity and receipt of child pornography.
According to court documents, between April 2013 and July 2014, Peeler used Internet-based instant messaging services with video streaming capabilities to communicate with individuals in the Philippines engaged in child sex trafficking and the sale of live streaming sex shows involving children. Utilizing Internet-based money transfer services, Peeler attempted on at least four occasions to arrange the purchase of live video sex shows involving children who ranged from four to fourteen years of age.
When confronted by officers at the time of his arrest, Peeler admitted that he was the user of the e-mail and instant messaging account that had been used to solicit the streaming videos, but claimed that he had never actually purchased any videos. A preliminary forensic review during the execution of the search warrant revealed the presence of child pornography on Peeler’s computer.
The leaders of this child sex trafficking organization were identified as a result of tips provided to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Filipino authorities, working in conjunction with Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI, have identified and arrested the members of the organization, and rescued the children being exploited. The operators of the child sex trafficking organization will face prosecution in the Philippines.
The charge of coercing and enticing a minor provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to a lifetime in prison, a minimum of five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. The charge of receipt of child pornography provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and no greater than 20 years in prison, a minimum of five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr.; Vincent B. Lisi, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Michael Shea, Deputy Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Colonel Timothy P. Alben, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; and Worcester Police Chief Gary J. Gemme, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Grady of Ortiz’s Worcester Branch Office.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The case is brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.
Members of the public who have questions, concerns or information regarding this case should call 617-748-3274.