Former Joplin teacher sentenced to 28 years for sexual exploitation of a child

Former Joplin teacher sentenced to 28 years for sexual exploitation of a child
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NEWS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a former Joplin, Mo., middle school teacher was sentenced in federal court today for sexually exploiting a child victim to produce child pornography.

Charles D. Gastel, 40, of Carterville, Mo., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips to 28 years in federal prison without parole. Following his prison term, Gastel must spend the rest of his life under supervised release.

Gastel was formerly a science teacher at South Middle School in Joplin. On Dec. 17, 2013, Gastel admitted that he sexually assaulted a teenage victim, identified in court documents as Jane Doe, over a period of approximately nine years. Gastel also admitted that he video-recorded some of the sexual assaults.

On July 13, 2013, a Carterville, Mo., police officer interviewed the 19-year-old victim at her home in Lamar, Mo. She reported that she had been sexually victimized by Gastel repeatedly, beginning when she was 10 years old. Jane Doe reported that during some of the assaults, Gastel used a digital video recorder to record them engaging in sexual acts.

On July 17, 2013, Gastel was interviewed at his residence by the investigators. He initially told the investigators that he did not have videos on his computer. When asked for consent to search his computer, Gastel replied that he wanted to talk to a lawyer because he had files on his computer that would end his teaching career. Gastel was then placed under arrest and officers obtained a search warrant for his residence. A forensic preview of the digital media seized by officers yielded the discovery of several video files that depicted Gaston sexually assaulting Jane Doe when she was 16 years old.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by the Carterville, Mo., Police Department, the Southwest Missouri Cybercrime Task Force and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

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