A former Fresno Unified substitute teacher was arrested after investigators found several “explicit” videos and photos on his cellphone of a Vinland Elementary School student, along with more than 30 child pornography videos on his electronic devices, said Fresno police Sgt. Israel Reyes.
The suspect, Omar Thomas, 41, of Clovis was arrested Oct. 18 and booked into Fresno County Jail on suspicion of possessing child pornography and “annoying or molesting a child under 18.”
Reyes couldn’t describe the nature of the “explicit” videos and photos of the Vinland Elementary student, who was about 6 or 7 years old, but said they were taken within the last year at the girl’s elementary school and that there was no physical contact between Thomas and the child “as far as we know.” He added that there’s no indication other local children were affected.
Fresno Unified spokeswoman Jessica Peres Baird said Thomas worked on and off for the district since 1999 as a teacher’s aide and most recently as a substitute teacher. Baird said Thomas was fired Aug. 23 after the district was notified of the police investigation. Baird said she could not disclose what Fresno schools Thomas worked at.
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Reyes said Fresno police were first contacted about Thomas on Aug. 23 after he completed a “voice stress analysis examination” while applying for a job as a corrections officer with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. During that test, Reyes said, Thomas admitted to viewing child pornography around 10 years ago. Thomas was later contacted by Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force investigators, who said he changed his statement, saying he viewed child pornography around three years ago. During a search more than 30 videos depicting children engaged in sexual activity were found on Thomas’ external hard drive.