A former El Campo school cafeteria worker’s arrest Sunday on allegations of sexually assaulting children came as the result of a months-long investigation into underage porn.
The Texas State Office of the Attorney General Child Exploitation Unit working with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children conducted the investigation and made the arrest.
Authorities took 42-year-old Robert Lee Gonzales of 912 CR 479 into custody Sunday, Aug. 24 on three counts of sexual assault of a child. He remains in the Wharton County Jail in lieu of $150,000 in bonds as of presstime.
The investigation into alleged Eagle Lake child porn uploader Cameron Lee Wood, 32, of 2276 Valley Dr. led to Gonzales.
Gonzales and Wood had allegedly been sharing pornographic images of children, according to search warrant information obtained by the El Campo Leader-News.
The transfer of known illegal images launched then investigation and prompted a search of each man’s home earlier this month. During those searches, authorities seized each man’s cellular phone. Wood’s computer, two other cell phones and other electronic items were also seized.
At the time, Gonzales lived at 404 Blue Bonnet Lane, Apt. A, in El Campo and the search was conducted there.
Recovered digital images, authorities said, led to the discovery of the additional crimes.
“As the investigation continued, a subsequent search warrant for Gonzales’ social media account revealed communications with two children, detailing sexual assaults, as well as images of child pornography. The two children were identified and interviewed, both confirming that Gonzales sexually assaulted them,” according to a press release posted by the Texas Attorney General’s Office Tuesday.
Gonzales had previously worked for the El Campo School District in the middle school cafeteria, but “he did not start the year with us,” Superintendent Kelly Waters said.
He also worked for retail stores in El Campo.
Wood, charged with possession of child pornography and possession with the intent to promote child pornography, was booked into the county jail Wednesday, Aug. 7. He too remains in the Wharton County Jail in lieu of $150,000 in bonds as of presstime.
The case against Wood is limited to the viewing and transfer of images, according to information listed on search warrants requested through the 329th District Court on Aug. 6 and administered against the two men on Aug. 7.
Both men had been under investigation for several months by the Child Exploitation Unit after a tip from the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children, according to the documents.
Part of the evidence linking the two is a social media chat from January where the two discuss their preferences and an exchange of images that authorities say took place several months later.