Cebu public school teacher arrested in 2018, jailed again in US for child pornography

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A public school teacher arrested in 2018 for molesting a 14-year-old athlete during the Palarong Pambansa in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, was jailed again in New Mexico, the United States for child pornography.

Authorities caught Rodymar Lelis, 29, a former teacher at the Zapatera Integrated School in Barangay Zapatera in Cebu City,  for alleged possession and sharing of pornographic videos of children.

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If the teacher were found guilty of child pornography, Lelis would face 20-year jail time in Federal prison.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) said Lelis was charged before the federal court on Wednesday, November 6, for “accessing videos containing child pornography from his room in a local hotel on September 7, 2019.”

The ICE report confirmed that the public school teacher holds a J-1 non-immigrant visa, which “issued by the United States to research scholars, professors and exchange visitors participating in programs that promote cultural exchange, especially to obtain medical or business training within the U.S.”

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After a two-month investigation, HSI agents arrested Lelis in his home in New Mexico last November 5, 2019. He was then detained at the Santa Fe County Adult Detention Facility.

HSI agents arrested Lelis in his home in Española, New Mexico last November 5, 2019, after a two-month investigation, and is detained at the Santa Fe County Adult Detention Facility.

“HSI special agents, assigned to the Albuquerque office, conducted an investigation with assistance from HSI Manila and the Bureau of Indian Affairs,” the ICE HSI news release reads.

“Child exploitation is a heinous crime, and these investigations are one of HSI’s highest priorities. We plan to continue working with our federal, state and local partners to identify, arrest and prosecute child predators to hold them accountable for their reprehensible crimes,” the news release posted at the ICE website quoted HSI Special Agent Jack P., Staton.

Public school teacher molested 14-year old student-athlete during Palarong Pambansa 2018

In 2018, Rodymar Lelis, 28, was a Special Education (SPED) teacher at the Zapatera Integrated School in Cebu City. He was arrested but released for allegedly making sexual advances towards a 14-year-old male athlete from Region 3.

According to the victim, Lelis molested him in Caoayan town, which served as one of the venues of the sports meet, on the evening of April 17.

In his statement in the police spot report, the victim said that Lelis kissed his neck and shoulder and forcibly hugged him inside a comfort room at the venue.

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