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Fort Worth middle school teacher charged with exploiting children on Kik

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A Fort Worth middle school teacher has been charged with child exploitation after using a popular chat app to share child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.

Stephen Travis Corkill, an 35-year-old seventh grade teacher at Marine Creek Middle School in Fort Worth, was charged via criminal complaint with transporting a depiction of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct via interstate commerce.  He made his initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cureton Wednesday morning.

According to charging documents, Mr. Corkill allegedly used Kik, a messaging app popular among teenagers, to share an explicit image of a young girl.

Kik automatically flagged the image as having a hash value associated with known child pornography, and, after verifying the image was indeed pornography, reported it to law enforcement.  Agents then subpoenaed the subscriber information for the IP address associated with the upload, and traced it back to Mr. Corkill.

A search of Mr. Corkill’s residence revealed an iPhone with Kik installed. Under questioning, Mr. Corkill allegedly acknowledged he was the sole owner of the Kik account, which he said he used to view child pornography.

A criminal complaint is merely an allegation of criminal conduct, not evidence. Like all defendants, Mr. Corkill is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.

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

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) conducted the investigation with the assistance of the Flower Mound Police Department, Fort Worth Police Department, and Cedar Hill Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney A. Saleem is prosecuting the case.

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