Another educator in sexual hot water? You betcha.
The FBI announced that Eugene Ballantyne, a 29-year-old former middle school teacher in San Bernadino was arrested after he allegedly engaged in cross-country sexting with one underage girl, exchanged explicit photos with her, and traveled 180 miles to have sex with another.
He was arrested and charged in a federal criminal complaint on suspicion of ...
... "receipt and distribution of child pornography," according to a statement from the feds.
The ex-teacher, from the resort-adjacent town of Running Springs, started a text and online-chat-based relationship with a 13-year-old New Jersey girl that was uncovered and subsequently reported by her mother earlier this year, according to the statement.
The FBI alleges:
Ballantyne met the victim on an Internet chat site where they exchanged contact information and continued to correspond via Internet messaging services downloaded by the victim at Ballantyne's direction.
Ballantyne, who allegedly used a false name of John Baldwin while Los Angeles Field office communicating with the victim, sent nude photographs of himself to the victim and received partially nude, sexually suggestive photographs of the victim. The complaint alleges that Ballantyne was very demanding during phone conversations with the minor victim and persuaded the victim to engage in sexual activity while they conversed.
Agents say the ex-educator at times tried to cover his tracks by telling the girl to delete the messages between them and get rid of the photos.
But he also allegedly expressed "how lucky" he was to have known her.
After he was confronted and agents searched his home, the FBI claims that Ballentyne confessed not only to the sexting relationship but to similar relationships with two other underage girls who lived closer to the area.
During a March 1 warrant search of his home, according to the FBI ...
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... Ballantyne admitted to agents that he had been communicating with the minor since January 2012 and that he had received sexually explicit images from the victim, as well as having received sexually explicit images from another minor female he met online approximately two years prior, identified in the complaint as "CV2." The complaint further alleges that Ballantyne admitted to traveling 180 miles to have sex with a third minor victim, identified in the complaint as "CV3," whom he met in an online chat room. Ballantyne admitted to maintaining contact with both CV2 and CV3.
He was due in court this afternoon. If convicted Ballantyne could face 20 years.
Agents fear that there might be more victims in this case and they want anyone with information on the suspect to call them at 888-226-8443.