witcher

ODESSA, Texas — A Texas school bus driver and former substitute teacher has been arrested on federal charges of possessing child pornography, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) announced today.

45-year-old Reid Derrick Witcher was arrested on June 19, 2019, after investigators with HSI, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the Odessa Police Department executed a state search warrant at his Odessa, Texas, home.

There, investigators found about 100,000 images of child pornography contained in electronic media and a binder containing about 125 photos of child pornography, according to a federal criminal complaint. Witcher also told investigators he had been downloading and viewing child pornography for about 10 years.

Witcher was a school bus driver for the Ector County Independent School District since 2013 and previously served as a substitute teacher in 2006 and 2007, according to the district.

The district says Witcher was properly screened and underwent a criminal background inquiry prior to his employment. He was terminated after the district learned of the charges.

The district also says there is no indication that Ector County ISD students were involved in the case.

“Innocent children who are sexually exploited physically or through disseminated child pornography may suffer irreparable trauma,” stated Jack P. Staton, special agent in charge of HSI El Paso. “Under our ongoing Operation Predator program, our HSI special agents continue to work jointly with our law enforcement partners to rescue victimized children, and aggressively target child predators for their heinous crimes.”

Complete statement from Ector County ISD:

"We worked with the Department of Public Safety in their investigation, and ultimate arrest, of one of our bus drivers for possession of child pornography. These charges are extremely disturbing, and upon learning of them, the driver was immediately fired.

We want to assure our community we take great care to screen potential employees before they are hired. All employees must be fingerprinted for a criminal history check that searches state and national databases. In this case, the man involved worked for the school district twice – as a substitute teacher during part of 2006 and 2007 and again as an activity bus driver for field trips and extra-curricular trips beginning in 2013. Both times he was hired, the district completed all of the required background checks. We received no complaints of this nature about him at any time.

Our ECISD police helped in his arrest, and we will continue to help the investigation in any way that we can. At this time, we have not been given any indication that any of our students are involved. If anyone has information they feel might be relevant to the authorities investigating this case we encourage them to call 1-866-347-2423.

Our students’ safety is always our top priority, and we will take the steps necessary to ensure it."

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Reporting on breaking news in the DFW metroplex since 2012 and later expanded coverage statewide. Mathew can be reached by email or social media by using the links below.