Fort Worth

Former Fort Worth drama teacher pleads guilty to child porn charge

Matthew Keller, 24, a former theater teacher at South Hills and Southwest high schools in Fort Worth, faces a federal charge of receipt of child pornography involving a Michigan teen he met online. (Tarrant County Sheriff's Department )
Matthew Keller, 24, a former theater teacher at South Hills and Southwest high schools in Fort Worth, faces a federal charge of receipt of child pornography involving a Michigan teen he met online. (Tarrant County Sheriff's Department )

A former Fort Worth drama teacher pleaded guilty Tuesday to a child pornography charge three months after his online relationship with a 15-year-old boy was uncovered.

Matthew Anthony Keller, 24, was a drama teacher at Fort Worth’s Southwest High School when he was arrested in July on accusations that he nude photos and videos with a Michigan boy, whom Keller called his boyfriend, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

Tuesday, Keller went before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cureton to plead guilty to one count of production of child pornography, according to a news release from the office of John Parker, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas.

The investigation began when a parent of the 15-year-old boy discovered the relationship between Keller and the boy and notified police near Detroit, the news release said. Police determined that Keller planned to fly to Michigan for a possible sexual encounter with the boy, according to the news release.

Authorities searched Keller’s home in Watauga, finding a sexually explicit video of the boy on Keller’s computer. According to a federal complaint, Keller and the teen exchanged photos and videos for 18 months after meeting in an online chat room when the boy was 13.

Keller resigned voluntarily from his job as theater director at Southwest in June. He was hired by the school district in August 2014, spending his first year at South Hills High School. The complaint also referred to him as a youth pastor. Keller also volunteered in the children’s ministry at Haltom Road Baptist Church in Haltom City, the church said in a statement in July.

Keller faces 15 to 30 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine and a lifetime of supervised release. He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 2, according to the news release.

This report includes information from the Star-Telegram archives.

Mark David Smith: 817-390-7808, @MarkSmith_FWST

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