Lewis Central Spanish Teacher to be arrested on sexual exploitation charges


February 2nd, 2012 by Ric Hanson

A Spanish teacher at the Lewis Central High School has resigned, and is scheduled to turn himself-in today to authorities in Pottawattamie County, after a warrant was issued for his arrest. 30-year old Daniel Pantoja, of Omaha, NE, faces a felony charge of with Sexual Exploitation by a School Employee, and a Serious Misdemeanor charge of Lascivious Conduct with a Minor.

Pottawattamie County Sheriff Jeff Danker says the warrant for Pantoja’s arrest was issued after authorities conducted an investigation into his activities, following a complaint filed on Wednesday, by a 17-year old female student at the Lewis Central High School, and her father. The complaint alleges the juvenile received inappropriate text messages from Pantoja.

Danker says in December, Pantoja obtained the girls’ cellular phone number in class, because she was working at the Mall of the Bluffs as Santa’s Elf. Pantoja reportedly told the girl that he wanted to get his picture taken with Santa while the juvenile was on the job. Soon thereafter, she began to receive text messages from Pantoja, consisting of statements indicating if he were her age, he would ask her out, and other, similar statements.

The girl alleged Pantoja took her phone during class and without her consent, had searched the picture folder, where he discovered pictures of her wearing a sports bra and shorts. She said after he discovered the pictures, he texted her, asking her to send him that photo. The juvenile agreed to send Pantoja the picture in exchange for a better grade in class. Pantoja also reportedly sent the girl a nude picture of an adult male torso, with the genitalia covered by the left hand. The picture was allegedly sent from Pantoja’s cell phone, the same phone from which the text messages originated. He then allegedly requested she send him two more pictures of herself, one with more clothing, one with less.

Pantoja’s bond was set at $5,000. The man has made arrangements with his attorney, to turn himself-in.