Jacksonville, Florida – Thomas Lester Hazouri, Jr. (41, Jacksonville) today
pleaded guilty to distributing child sexual abuse videos over the internet using a social media messaging application (app). He faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 5 years, and up to 20 years, in federal prison and a potential life term of supervised release. Hazouri’s sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled. Hazouri has been detained since his arrest on September 4, 2020.
According to court documents, a company that owns and hosts a particular online social media messaging app notified the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that on March 26, 2020, one of its users, who was later identified as Thomas Lester Hazouri, Jr., had uploaded and distributed four videos depicting children being sexually abused to several users in a public chat room. Further investigation by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) traced the internet protocol address used to distribute these videos to Hazouri’s residence in Jacksonville Beach. At that time, Hazouri was employed as a second grade teacher at Mayport Elementary School in Jacksonville.
JSO obtained search warrants for the social messaging app account for user “mybfsgaynotme” as well as for another email account used by Hazouri. Hazouri’s “mybfsgaynotme” account contained 19 images and 45 videos depicting children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Hazouri’s email account contained several photos depicting child erotica. On August 6, 2020, JSO detectives and other personnel executed a search warrant at Hazouri’s residence and seized Hazouri’s iPhone and two laptop computers. Forensic examination of the iPhone revealed that it contained 123 images and three videos depicting child sexual abuse. The three videos on Hazouri’s iPhone appeared to depict the same content as three of the videos distributed by Hazouri using the app on March 26, 2020. Hazouri was subsequently arrested.
This case was investigated by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the Duval County School Police Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.
This is another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.