Teacher pleads guilty for lewd video conference sex acts with students during video chats

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SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Joel Lehi Organista, 29, of Salt Lake City, pleaded guilty to two felony counts related to the production and transportation of child pornography in federal court last Monday.

In the plea agreement, Organista admitted to owning a Dropbox account which was used for downloading between 10 and 150 images of prepubescent minors. In addition, Organista admitted to using Snapchat to contact minor children and soliciting them to perform sexual acts for him via video chat, including an incident that occurred between Organista and a 13 year-old victim, where the victim performed sexual acts for Organista via video chat.

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According to the plea agreement, Organista admitted to mutual masturbation sessions with minors.

The case originated in early 2021, after law enforcement received multiple tips that devices and accounts attributed to Organista were receiving and downloading images containing child pornography. A search warrant was executed at Organista’s residence in June of 2021, and Organista has been in custody since that time.

Prosecutors have agreed to recommend a sentence of 15 years in federal prison, which will be reviewed by a District Court Judge at the time of Organista’s sentencing, currently set for May of 2022. Organista also faces a maximum possible sentence of a lifetime of supervised release after his term of incarceration is served and he will be required to register as a sex offender.

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Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys from the Utah Attorney General’s Office and Assistant United States Attorney’s Office from the United States Attorney’s Office prosecuted the case. Special Agents from the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force conducted the investigation.