Teacher’s Assistant Pleads Guilty to Production of Child Pornography
On Tuesday, December 27, 2022 the following press release was issued by the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Eastern District of Arkansas.
LITTLE ROCK— A teacher’s assistant has pleaded guilty to three counts of production of child pornography. Augustus “Gus” Shenker, 22, of Little Rock, who was initially charged in a criminal complaint in May 2021 and indicted in June 2021, pleaded guilty today before United States District Judge Lee P. Rudofsky.
In May 2021, FBI received a cyber tip that Dropbox user Augustus Shenker, using an email address that contained his name, possessed seven videos containing child pornography. Investigators determined Shenker’s address and learned that he was employed at Miss Selma’s School in Little Rock, an early education school with children from 18 months old to fifth grade.
FBI agents obtained a search warrant for Shenker’s home and made contact with him at the school where he worked. Law enforcement seized Shenker’s iPhone and advised him a search warrant was being executed at his residence. Shenker was interviewed and admitted he used to have a problem with child pornography several years ago but no longer viewed child pornography. He also confirmed the email address and Dropbox account from the cyber tip belonged to him.
A review of items seized from Shenker’s residence revealed six videos created in March 2021 that showed Shenker touching the buttocks and vagina of a preschool-age child in a classroom at Miss Selma’s School. His iPhone contained a hidden folder with 19 additional videos, all of which were taken in the same preschool classroom where Shenker worked. Shenker’s face is visible in several of the videos. In addition to the videos of abuse that Shenker produced himself, law enforcement located more than a thousand images of child sexual abuse on Shenker’s phone and other devices.
Shenker was first charged in a criminal complaint on May 18, 2021, when the FBI received the initial cyber tip. On June 1, 2021, after the discovery of the videos on his phone, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Shenker with 22 counts of production of child pornography and one count of possession of child pornography. On Tuesday, Shenker pleaded to three of the production counts.
“This defendant violated the trust parents placed in him each day by placing their children in his care,” said United States Attorney Jonathan Ross. “Using his position to exploit preschoolers is an unthinkable abuse, especially in their own school—the very place we expect children to be protected. We appreciate the hard work of the FBI in identifying and arresting this defendant and hope this conviction deters others who would harm children.”
“Today’s conviction of Mr. Shenker demonstrates the unwavering dedication and adamant determination of the investigators who serve on our Violent Crime squad,” said FBI Little Rock Special Agent in Charge James A. Dawson. “FBI agents, professional support staff, and local law enforcement partners worked tirelessly to uncover Mr. Shenker’s abominable crimes while ensuring his victims and their families received assistance. Alongside our partners at the U.S. Attorney’s office, FBI Little Rock’s Violent Crime squad will continue to relentlessly identify, investigate, and prosecute predators who seek to harm children within our community.”
Shenker will be sentenced by Judge Rudofsky at a later date. The investigation is being conducted by the FBI Little Rock Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kristin Bryant.
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