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Ohkay Owingeh teacher faces child porn charges

1604396

Rodymar Lelis

SANTA FE — A New Mexico teacher who is in the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa has been arrested on federal child pornography charges, and it’s not the first time he’s been arrested for sexual crimes against children.

Rodymar Lelis, 29, was charged with possession with intent to view child pornography by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security earlier this month for sending illegal videos through Facebook Messenger while he was staying at an Albuquerque hotel in September. He is currently in the Santa Fe County jail on a U.S. Marshal detainer.

Lelis, who is from the Philippines, was a teacher at La Tierra Montessori School in Ohkay Owingeh, according to a news release from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. No one at the school could be reached for comment Monday.

The news release says Lelis is in the U.S. legally on a J-1 non-immigrant visa, which is typically used for foreign nationals involved in cultural and educational exchange opportunities.

Lelis was arrested in the Philippines last year for allegedly making sexual advances on a 14-year-old athlete in April 2018 while Lelis was a special education teacher in Cebu City, according to online news reports. It’s not clear how Lelis was able to leave to the U.S.

According to a federal criminal complaint, Facebook sent a report to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children because Lelis apparently sent explicit videos with children through its Messenger app on Sept. 7.

A DHS agent began investigating and found that an account tied to Lelis sent the videos from the Baymont by Wyndham Albuquerque Airport Hotel.

Lelis was arrested Nov. 6 after officers searched his Española home and seized an iPhone.


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