Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Former South Middle School teacher charged with sex crimes

(Updated)

Charles Dominic Gastel, an eighth grade science teacher at Joplin South Middle School during the 2012-2013 school year, was charged today with sexual exploitation of children, according to documents filed in U. S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

An affidavit signed by Detective Tim Williams of the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crimes Task Force indicates Gastel was arrested following an investigation that started with a sexual assault complaint July 15 in Carterville.

From the affidavit:

On July 16, 2013, Deputy Chief John Redden contacted the complaintant and victim, “Jane Doe,” at her home located in Lamar Missouri. In a written statement the victim reported that she had been sexually assaulted on June 28, 2013, by Charles Dominic Gastel. The victim specified that Gastel
directed her to take her clothes off. Gastel then started touching her breasts and vagina. Gastel then inserted his penis into the victim’s vagina despite the victim’s protestations. 

I then spoke with GASTEL’S son who stated that he saw a video on GASTEL’S black laptop computer depicting GASTEL and the victim engaging in sexual intercourse. 

On July 17, 2013, Deputy Chief John Redden along with members of the Children’s Division made contact with Charles Gastel at his home (in Carterville) for an on-sight inspection. After the inspection Gastel agreed to an interview at the Joplin Police Department. Gastel was advised of and waived his Miranda rights prior to the interview. During the interview, I told him that his son saw an incriminating video recording on his laptop. Gastel said there were not any videos on his laptop. I then asked if I had consent to take his laptop and have it searched by forensic technicians. He replied he wanted to talk to a lawyer because there were things on his computer that would end his teaching career. I then took him into custody and transported him to the Jasper County Jail. 

On July 18, 2013, Deputy Chief Redden applied for and received a search warrant for the house (in Carterville), to seize digital media, including computers. Investigators seized multiple computers, an X box video console, 3 Sony PlayStation 3 consoles, three cellular telephones, a Sony video recorder, an Olympus Camera, and multiple DVDs and CDs containing videos and pictures. 

On July 25, 2013, I performed a forensic preview of the optical media disks collected during the search warrant. While examining the optical media disks, several video files were located as well as image files of suspected child pornography. The images and videos contained depictions of sexual assault being conducted on “Jane Doe” by Gastel. The abuse included vaginal sexual intercourse, and the use of sexual toys to vaginally penetrate “Jane Doe.” 

On July 25, 2013, I interviewed “Jane Doe” again. “Jane Doe” stated the videos depicting her engaged in the aforementioned sexual conduct, were created by Gastel when she was 16 years of age. The victim stated Gastel used a digital video recorder, which was collected in the search warrant, set up at the end of the bed on a tripod to record the sexual acts. “Jane Doe” reported that Gastel made two to 
three videos when she was 16 years of age. “Jane Doe” further reported that Gastel began engaging in sexual acts with her when she was ten years old.

Gastel taught one year in the Joplin R-8 School District, according to Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education records and reportedly had left the school district for another teaching job.


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