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Utah fifth grade teacher accused of having child porn

Published August 13, 2014 1:18 pm

Courts • Jose Maria Ardanaz Ezcurida is charged with five second-degree felonies.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

A fifth grade Park City teacher and Boy Scout leader is accused of possessing child pornography.

Jose Maria Ardanaz Ezcurida, 31, was charged Monday in Summit County's 3rd District Court with five counts of second-degree felony sexual exploitation of a minor.

Ardanaz Ezcurida worked at Parley's Park Elementary School, though he has been fired since his weekend arrest, according to the Park City School District.

According to a probable cause statement, investigators with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force began investigating the case after the image hosting website Photo Bucket told police that a video containing child porn was uploaded to their site Tinypic.com in May from a Park City home.

A search warrant was served on Ardanaz Ezcurida's Park City condominium on Aug. 7, while the man was out of the country. Investigators allegedly found a thumb drive that contained five child pornography videos.

He was arrested on Saturday, but was released from jail after posting $100,000 bail. He is scheduled to make his initial appearance in court on Aug. 25.

Ardanaz Ezcurida allegedly admitted to police that he viewed and possessed the videos, according to court records.

While serving the search warrant, investigators also found evidence that Ardanaz Ezcurida was "an avid member and leader of a scout group in the Park City area," according to the probable cause statement.

He was scheduled to teach a dual immersion fifth grade class this fall, according to a press release from the school district, and he taught second grade last year. The district said that because Ardanaz Ezcurida admitted to viewing the child porn, his employment has been terminated.

The man was in the United States on a work visa, according to court records. The district said Ardanaz Ezcurida went through a criminal background check in Spain, and he had no prior criminal record.

District officials also noted that a school laptop issued to Ardanaz Ezcurida contained no illegal videos or photos.

jmiller@sltrib.com

Twitter: @jm_miller