A federal magistrate on Wednesday ordered a former Denton High School teacher to remain in custody while prosecutors continue investigating a complaint that he tried to blackmail a teenager into sending him nude photos.
Gregory Bogomol, 38, of Fort Worth, was arrested last week on a federal warrant accusing him of possession of child pornography.
At a hearing at the Fort Worth federal courthouse, U.S. Magistrate Jeffrey Cureton ruled that Bogomol is a flight risk and ordered him to remain in the custody of federal marshals.
Bogomol is a former journalism teacher at Denton High School who resigned a week before his arrest, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office. Bogomol’s wife, Regina Bogomol, testified Wednesday that he taught for more than 10 years.
Bogomol also worked seasonally for the Star-Telegram in the sports department but has not been employed since February.
“There is clear evidence of his engagement in child pornography,” said federal prosecutor Aisha Saleem. “We know of two victims who said they were blackmailed to submit photos.”
Amanda Johnson, a special agent with the Department of Homeland Security, testified that she was informed by a counterpart in Lake Charles, La., that the parents of a 15-year-old boy reported that their son was solicited for nude photos by a person using the name “Crystal Williams” via the KIK Messenger smartphone app.
During an interview with agents at his house on May 6, “Bogomol said he had been using the online female persona to solicit nude pictures of boys,” Johnson testified.
According to the complaint, the boy said Williams sent him “nude images of a young female through the KIK application and requested nude images of [the boy] in return.”
The boy sent one image, which was met with a request for another, according to the complaint. The youth got suspicious and told his parents, who contacted federal authorities.
“After he declined, the female threatened to send his nude pictures to all of his friends,” Johnson said.
“The child said he feared that his pictures would be exposed on the Internet. He became afraid to go out and afraid to play sports.”
Agents traced Williams’ phone activity to an account owned by Bogomol, according to the complaint.
Bogomol told investigators that he has solicited nude pictures of boys since 2005 and that there had been complaints from other students at other schools, according to Johnson.
Bogomol also said he might have used threats to get some of those pictures, Johnson said.
Johnson testified that Bogomol disappeared for a time while she and another investigator were questioning him on May 6. She believes Bogomol deleted the KIK application from his cellphone while he was out of her sight. But agents found another application called Grindr on Bogomol’s cellphone.
“He saw what I was looking at on Grindr,” Johnson said. “I saw numerous pictures of young males in various stages of undress.”
Cody Cofer, Bogomol’s attorney, said he would review the government’s evidence to determine if there is anything there that might compel the court to revisit the detention issue.
The maximum penalty for possession of child porn is 10 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and lifetime supervised release.
Prosecutors have 30 days to present the case to a grand jury, the news release said.
Bogomol has several teacher certifications valid until 2019 listed on the Texas Education Agency website. A note on the website says that Bogomol is being reviewed by the State Board of Education’s professional discipline unit.