Education

Former Miami Country Day School employee pleads guilty to child porn charge

Jonathan Rivas, facing seven child pornography charges, pleaded guilty to one in a plea bargain.
Jonathan Rivas, facing seven child pornography charges, pleaded guilty to one in a plea bargain.

A Friday morning email to Miami Country Day School notified parents that a former summer camp and after-school care employee had pleaded guilty to a child pornography charge.

Federal court documents say Miami Gardens resident Jonathan Rivas, looking at three counts of child pornography distribution and two counts of child pornography possession, pleaded guilty on May 2 to one of the distribution counts. When Rivas receives his sentence July 12, it’ll carry anywhere from five to 20 years in prison followed by five years to life supervised release.

According to the email from Country Day Head of School John Davies, Rivas worked at the private school in Miami Shores from March 20, 2013, to Sept. 7, 2016. Along with the after-school program and some school clubs, Rivas was employed in the school’s summer day camps in 2014, 2015 and 2016. The school didn’t respond to Miami Herald e-mails asking whether Rivas was fired or left of his own will.

He also did babysitting for some school families. School policy forbids employees babysitting or tutoring Country Day students, who range from pre-K through high school, outside the school’s supervision.

Homeland Security began investigating Rivas in or before March 2016. In the criminal complaint filed Feb. 10 and available to the public online by Feb. 14, Homeland Security Special Agent Emily Shoupe writes that a Mar. 25 2016 search of Rivas’ phone revealed it had been used to send and receive 300 child pornography files on the instant messaging app Kik.

Rivas’ factual statement admits law enforcement found over 1,000 files of child pornography videos and photos on his laptop and an external hard drive on Feb. 6 of this year.

The files, the statement said, “depicted girls and boys appearing as young as 3 years old engaging in oral sex, vaginal sex, and anal sex. The files included child pornography involving sadism.”

Davies’ email said the school hadn’t been told if any the videos or photos included Country Day children. Rivas claims he downloaded the files from various groups on Kik — he was a member of 200 used to trade child pornography —through his account “Tastyshorts009.”

Kik’s records show Rivas, while working at Country Day, regularly used the school’s internet to get into his “Tastyshorts009” account.

The child pornography distribution for which Rivas will be sentenced occurred in February 2016, when Rivas posted three photos to Kik groups.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal

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