DA lists 156 possible victims in child porn investigation of Spring ISD teacher

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by Drew Karedes / KHOU 11 News & KHOU.com staff

khou.com

Posted on August 29, 2013 at 10:23 PM

Updated Friday, Aug 30 at 2:39 PM

HOUSTON –  The Harris County District Attorney’s office has made a list of 156 possible victims of a Spring Independent School District teacher who resigned after facing child pornography charges.

The new details came out Thursday as Derrick Allan Gossett, 32, a former Anderson Elementary music teacher, appeared in court to face the charges.

KHOU 11 News has also learned that Derrick Gossett was employed at a daycare about 40 miles south of Anderson Elementary.

Parents at Ambassador Christian Daycare School said they received a letter on Wednesday.

“It’s sick. This is sick, sick, sick. Why would you do that to kids? It don’t make no sense,” said one mother who didn’t want to be identified.

Parents said they’ve been told that Gossett did not have private access to the facility, but there is still plenty of concern.

“They’re innocent. They don’t have any control over what they do. Especially teachers -- you’re putting your trust in them,” said father Joseph Lind.

Director Ivon Perez would not get into specifics about Gossett’s involvement with the daycare.

“My main priority here is to make sure the kids are safe and they are safe,” Perez said. “He hasn’t been here with the kids in several years.”

Records indicated that a family member of Gossett is the general manager at the daycare facility.

Harris County Precinct 4 investigators said Gossett set up a Facebook profile impersonating a juvenile female to encourage a 12-year-old boy to send nude images of himself through the website.

The boy believed he was conversing with a former classmate, investigators said.

“The parents of the 12-year-old boy were vigilant in checking up on what he was doing online,” said Prosecutor Lacy Johnson. “That led them to be suspicious about this—what turned out to be the fake profile of the girl—and they alerted the police.”

Police identified the juvenile female and detectives learned that she was being impersonated online after they interviewed her.

A search warrant was issued for Gossett’s home and investigators said they found several nude images of children on his computer. Detectives said Gossett confessed to using a fake Facebook profile to solicit nude photos of the boys. He allegedly would send them generic female pornography found online, passing it off as photos of the female juvenile.  

Gossett currently faces three counts of possession of child pornography, one count of online solicitation of a minor, one count of promotion of child pornography, and one count online impersonation.

"They have developed a list of 156 people that they need to talk to that they believe could be victims of Mr. Gossett," Johnson said. "We also may have developed evidence that he may have set up some kind of surreptitious camera in his classroom to record the children in his classroom."

When Gossett attempted to go to work Tuesday morning he was stopped and turned around by Spring ISD Police, who had been alerted about the investigation and charges.

Gossett resigned after that incident.  He was arrested later on Tuesday, but released after he posted $140,000 bond.

Spring ISD released this statement Thursday evening:

Spring ISD and the administration at Anderson Elementary School first learned of the investigation of Derrick Gossett early Tuesday, Aug. 27 and immediately took action. He was placed on administrative leave and resigned that morning. The district and the school are fully cooperating with law enforcement officials while this investigation is ongoing. Parents received a phone and email message Tuesday informing them about the investigation. The district takes these allegations very seriously and will continue to work closely with law enforcement while the investigation continues.

Detectives are asking anyone with any information, or who believes their child has had online contact with Gossett, to contact Harris County Precinct Four High Tech Crimes Unit at 281-401-6228.

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