(COUNCIL BLUFFS) Warrants have been issued for a Lewis Central High School teacher charged with having inappropriate contact with a student.
On Wednesday, Investigators from the Pottawattamie County Sheriff’s Office met with a juvenile female student from Lewis Central High School and her father regarding inappropriate text messages from one of the juvenile’s teachers. The juvenile reported that periodically she would receive text messages from her Spanish teacher, 30-year-old Daniel Pantoja of Omaha, Nebraska.
In December, Mr. Pantoja had obtained the cell phone number from the juvenile in class because the juvenile was working at the Mall of the Bluffs as Santa’s Elf. Mr. Pantoja reportedly told the juvenile that he wanted to get his picture taken with Santa while she was working. The juvenile stated that shortly afterward, she began to receive text messages from Mr. Pantoja. The text messages typically consisted of statements about if he were her age he would ask her out and questioned why she didn’t have a boyfriend as she was so beautiful.
The juvenile advised that during a class, Mr. Pantoja had taken her phone and without her consent had searched the picture folder where he discovered pictures of the juvenile wearing a sports bra and shorts. The juvenile reported that after Mr. Pantoja discovered the picture, he began texting her requesting that she send him that photo.
The juvenile reported that eventually she agreed to send the picture in exchange for a better grade in the class. Mr. Pantoja also reportedly sent the juvenile a nude picture of an adult male torso, with the genitalia covered with the left hand. The picture of the male torso was sent from Mr. Pantoja’s cell phone number from which all other texts had been received. Reportedly, Mr. Pantoja requested that the juvenile send two more photos of her to him, one with more clothing and the other with less.
Pantoja faces charges of Sexual Exploitation by a School Employee and Lascivious Conduct with a Minor. Bond was set at $5,000. Investigators have contacted Mr. Pantoja and he, through his attorney, is making arrangements to turn himself in.