Former South County teacher gets prison in child porn case

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SAN DIEGO — A former high school teacher who downloaded and possessed thousands of images of child pornography, some of which depicted children under the age of 12, was sentenced Wednesday to more than eight years in federal prison.

Robert Antonio Sandoval, 43, pleaded guilty to one count of receiving child pornography.

During the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Janis Sammartino said Sandoval’s behavior was disturbing “because the material is on the internet forever.”

Sandoval will be on supervised release for 10 years following his 97-month sentence. He taught at the Chula Vista High School learning center in the Sweetwater Union High School District.

“The conduct in this case exemplifies a horrific and dark part of our society,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric Birnbaum. “Every time a sexually explicit image or video of a minor is downloaded and viewed, the child who’s shown is victimized again.

The FBI will continue to work tirelessly to uncover the darkness and fight for the children who have fallen prey to these predators.”

Sandoval, who was arrested in January of last year, said he obtained the pornographic material using a commercially available file-sharing program for more than five years.

The FBI identified Sandoval after an agent downloaded child pornography files from the defendant in August 2015.