former El Campo ISD food services chief will spend one year behind prison bars after he pleaded guilty to filming little boys using the restroom at Northside Elementary two years ago.
Scott Robert Gelardi, 44, of 5201 Brigantie Kay Court in Texas City was booked into the Wharton County Jail at 11:01 a.m. Monday, Aug. 30 after pleading guilty that morning in the 23rd District Court to making an invasive recording of a bathroom or dressing room and possession of lewd visual material depicting a child.
Of his one-year sentence, Gelardi has already served four days.
“This makes sure we have a conviction and that he goes to prison,” Wharton County District Attorney Dawn Allison told the Leader-News Tuesday.
She added, “I would have liked for there to be more (prison) time ...(but) initially errors were made in the charging process, but those were cleared up before the plea was made.”
During March 2020 deliberations, the Wharton County Grand Jury indicted Gelardi for making an invasive visual recording, possession of child pornography and possession of child porn with the intent to distribute. Those charges were later amended in July 2021.
Initial reports indicated Gelardi had faced up to 20 years in prison, however, Allison said, while the videos are certainly an invasion of privacy, the evidence did not meet the criteria to successfully prosecute the crime as child pornography.
“He did go into custody that same day and will be registered as a registered sex offender,” Allison said, adding it brought the case to justice as quickly as possible.
Investigators now believe at least four little boys in fourth or fifth grade were recorded by Gelardi on a video camera discovered Nov. 18, 2019 by school district maintenance workers replacing a toilet paper dispenser.
The discovery prompted an immediate district wide search, but no other cameras were found.
There’s no indication Gelardi ever attempted to make physical contact with any of the boys.
Video evidence led El Campo police to Gelardi who was arrested as he came to work at Northside Elementary the next morning. Although working on El Campo school grounds daily for seven years, Gelardi was actually an employee of Aramark, the district’s contracted cafeteria service provider. That company had conducted a background check on Gelardi.
The camera found in November 2019 was the only one discovered during Gelardi’s tenure at ECISD, according to district officials shortly after his arrest.
The cafeteria chief was the sole suspect in the November 2019 crime.
Another previous El Campo ISD cafeteria worker still faces three counts of sexual assault of a child.
Robert Lee Gonzales, 42, of 912 CR 479 was arrested just before the start of 2019-2020 school year. An investigation by the Texas Attorney General’s crime team led to shared pornographic images of children and uncovered an alleged link to Gonzales.