Former East Valley High School teacher charged with possessing child pornography
SPOKANE, Wash. — A former East Valley High School teacher has resigned while awaiting trial for possessing sexually explicit images of young girls.
Court documents state 41-year-old Ryan Seidel, who taught math and was a technology specialist, uploaded and shared child pornography on the app ‘Kik.’ The Director of Human Resources for the East Valley School District said Seidel submitted his resignation on March 11, but has not been teaching this school year.
“The District has conferred with law enforcement on the matter and was given no reason to notify parents,” the HR director said in an email to 4 News Now.
Seidel was also a volunteer firefighter with Spokane County District #4. Assistant Chief Howard Johnson told 4 News Now Seidel had been with the department since 2009 and resigned for “personal reasons” on March 5. Johnson said he did not know about the charges against Seidel until 4 News Now reached out.
An investigation by Homeland Security Investigation’s Seattle Area of Responsibility first began in 2019 and located 31 Kik users in the region who were reported for child exploitation. Two of those users were identified as ‘CATCALLSNOTWANTED’ and ‘ANGELSAME777,’ which were suspected to be the same user.
Court documents show investigators tracked the accounts to multiple internet service providers, including a CenturyLink IP address. After obtaining a search warrant, investigators connected the IP address to Seidel.
The victims shown in the images uploaded by Seidel range in age from 1 years old to 16 years old, court documents state.
Following months of the investigation, local authorities sought a warrant to search his home in July 2020. Court documents show Seidel refused to cooperate and would not provide the passcode to unlock his phone.
Seidel’s wife did agree to a recorded interview, in which she said Seidel was very computer savvy and she is not.
Once investigators searched Seidel’s phone, they found the app Kik was downloaded. It was logged in with another username ‘browncow4,’ which was involved in 25 group and individual chat sessions.
Court documents show all of those chats involved distribution of pornography and child sexual abuse material, which included images and videos of child rape. Authorities said it is common for Kik users to have multiple usernames as the app often deletes accounts for violations of terms of service.
Seidel has been charged with first- and second-degree dealing in depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, as well as first- and second-degree possession of depictions of minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. He was released from jail on his own recognizance and is set to go to trial in late May.
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