A former California high school teacher has been charged with “catfishing” his students and posing as a woman in order to get them to sext with him.
Douglas Le, 25, was a chemistry teacher and track and field coach at Gilroy High School. According to police, in June of 2014, he created a fake Facebook profile under the name “Rae Pelletier.” Using the photo of a porn actress and pretending to be a teenage girl, Le solicited young men—most of whom were his own students—for sexually explicit messages in exchange for nude photos and videos.
This past April, the account was flagged and a warning was sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. From there, a case was opened by police. On April 26, police got a search warrant and entered Le’s home, seizing his computers and hard drives. He was arrested the next day, during one of his chemistry classes.
“We have identified nine juvenile male victims that he catfished and that he both sent nude pictures to and solicited nude pictures from,” Santa Clara Deputy District Attorney Jaron Shipp told The Washington Post. “While we’ve identified multiple child pornography victims, there’s evidence to suggest that there’s more of them.”
Le faces 20 criminal charges, including nine felony counts of sending harmful matter to a minor; nine felony counts of communicating with a minor while intending to commit a specified crime; one felony count of possessing matter depicting a minor engaging or simulating sexual conduct; and one misdemeanor count of annoying or molesting a child.
If he’s convicted, he could spend up to eight years in prison.
“This is a deeply-troubling example of why young people should be extremely wary of strangers that they decide to communicate with online,’’ said Jaron Shipp in a prepared statement. “Not everybody has bad intentions. Some absolutely do.”