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Former Sherman teacher indicted on federal child porn charges

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 3:55 PM CDT
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SHERMAN, Texas (KXII) - A now-former Sherman Middle School teacher has been indicted on federal child pornography violations.

Jeffrey L. Walters, 52, was named in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Sherman charging him with receipt of child pornography. Walters pleaded not guilty to the charges at an initial appearance in federal court on Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christine A. Nowak.

According to court documents, Walters came to the attention of law enforcement as someone who communicated with others about his interest in child pornography.

“There’s no telling what he was doing to the kids, how he was looking at them,” said Shamekqua Heath, who has four children just years away from entering Sherman Middle School. “There’s no telling how far it could have gotten.”

Through a joint investigation by Homeland Security Investigations-Dallas and the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office, law enforcement obtained a laptop and cellular phone owned and used by Walters. Forensic analysis of the laptop revealed that Walters had received child pornography, using the Internet, on multiple dates. The child pornography depicted prepubescent children engaged in sexually explicit conduct, including depictions of sadistic and masochistic abuse.

Heath said the responsibility of Walters’ actions fall on the school district.

“We put the responsibility on the school to make sure things like that don’t happen,” Heath said. “It’s disappointing.”

According to the Texas Education Agency, the 52 year old is licensed to teach mathematics in grades 4 through 8.

Walters was placed on leave from the school district on August 26th when law enforcement notified them of their investigation.

“It’s terrible that parents that do have kids in the middle school have to go through something like that,” Heath said. “It shouldn’t be something that’s happening.”

If convicted, Walters faces up to 20 years in federal prison.

Sherman ISD released this statement Thursday afternoon following the announcement of Walters’ indictment. They clarified that Walters is now no longer employed by the district.

“Sherman ISD is cooperating with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security regarding the arrest of Jeffrey Walters, who has been indicted on federal child pornography violations by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas.

Walters, a former teacher at Sherman Middle School, was placed on leave August 26 after law enforcement notified the district of their investigation. He has not been on campus since that time. Based upon the information we have received, the allegations do not involve activity on SISD property.

Student safety is our highest priority, and we remain diligent in maintaining safe schools. Sherman ISD takes all allegations of employee misconduct seriously, and polices concerning staff conduct are strictly enforced.

Providing a safe, secure learning environment for students and staff is our top priority. Our investigation and cooperation with law enforcement continues, and we urge anyone with information on this criminal activity or any potential crime to contact the appropriate law enforcement agency right away.”

Heath says now the focus should be on who Walters talked with about his interest in child porn.

“How long was the conversation going on, who else know, who else knew this and didn’t say anything,” Heath said.

This is a developing story. Check back and watch News 12 for updates.

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