HURST (CBSDFW.COM) — A 17-year-old posing as a 6th grader in the Hurst-Euless-Bedford Independent School District has been arrested for possession of child pornography.
Operating on a tip, detectives with the Hurst Police Department raided a Fort Worth home this week. Authorities seized a large amount of evidence of child pornography and exploitation of children.
Randy Ray Wesson, 28, was arrested on charges of possession with intent to promote child pornography, sale of harmful materials, and tampering with government records. Also arrested was Ricardo Javid Lugo, 17.
Police say Lugo, an American, was living in Mexico when he was lured to North Texas on social media by Wesson. Investigators say Wesson forged paperwork to enroll Lugo at Hurst Hills Elementary and acted as his father.
In August, Lugo passed himself off as 12-year-old and enrolled in the 6th grade. The investigation uncovered the counterfeit documents presented to the school to support his false age.
A representative with the district says the student was removed from class on Tuesday by Child Protective Services. The district, which says it is cooperating with police, released the following statement.
“Hurst Hills staff followed all procedures regarding enrollment when the student was enrolled in August. There was no indication that the student’s records were forged or that the student was too old to attend elementary school. The student’s behavior at school also did not raise any concerns.”
Administrators with the district have reached out to the parents of 6th grade students, and a letter is being distributed to students.
Parents told CBS 11 News they were shocked to learn their kids may have been attending school with a possible child pornographer. Father Danny Scott said, “I don’t understand how the documents could have been forged to the point where, ya know, no one in the school could figure it out. Obviously, I’m shocked.”
Police say so far they haven’t found any victims at the school, but they suspect hundreds of child pornography photos were collected and distributed on social media.
“We do believe that there will be child victims in our region,” said Hurst police Sgt. Craig Teague.
While the school admissions and police involvement helped calm Scott, he still had a lot of questions. He asked, “Is this one bad person that got into the school or is there more to this? Are there more kids involved? How widespread is this? Who did this child, this 17-year-old kid, who did he influence?” Many other parents are also hoping questions like those can soon be answered.
The Hurst Police Department has teamed with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and federal agencies in their investigation.
Anyone who has had contact with the arrested individuals and is concerned about their child should contact Hurst police at 817-788-7146.
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