Florida teacher charged with child pornography Urquiza reportedly started a relationship with a 16-year-old teenager in England after meeting them on Reddit. (NCD)
MIAMI — A high school math teacher in South Florida has been accused of child pornography and once told his victim to send him nude photos « on behalf of King Paul, » according to an arrest report.
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Paul Urquiza, 32, who teaches at Miami Beach Senior High School, was arrested Wednesday and charged with possession of images of sexual performance by a child, certain uses of computer services prohibited by a child, electronic transmission harmful to minors and unlawful use charged with a communication device, according to Miami-Dade County’s online booking records.
According to an affidavit of arrest, Miami-Dade Police launched an investigation in September 2021 when Interpol received a tip about an individual communicating inappropriately with a 16-year-old youth in Hampshire, England, WTVJ reported.
Urquiza linked up with the girl on Reddit after she commented on a photo of his cat, WPLG-TV reported. About a week later, Urquiza reportedly told the girl that he loved her. The minor told police that Urquiza helped her with her homework and read her Harry Potter novels. They continued communicating via Facebook, Instagram and via email, the affidavit said.
The affidavit states that exchanges between Urquiza and the victim became more inappropriate, WSVN-TV reported.
Police said Urquiza offered to fly the girl to Miami or Spain so they could meet. The victim’s family became aware of the relationship when the girl accidentally sent a sexually explicit photo to her mother on July 23, 2021, WPLG reported.
The victim’s mother took the girl’s phone and reported the incident to Hampshire Police, according to the TV station.
During the investigation, police uncovered multiple exchanges of text between Urquiza and the victim.
In a message dated May 14, 2021, Urquiza allegedly sent a photo with a filter of his image, wearing a crown and beard, and asking the victim to « send nude pictures on behalf of King Paul, » the affidavit said.
Interpol referred the case to the Miami-Dade Police Department last year, WPLG reported. Detectives had a search warrant when they arrived at his home just after 5:30 a.m. EDT on Wednesday.
Urquiza stood at the police station, officials said.
« I probably should have stopped, » Urquiza said, according to the affidavit.
Urquiza was committed to Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center in Miami. He posted $22,500 bail Wednesday night, WSVN reported.
“As a father, I am devastated for the child affected. Schools are meant to be a safe haven for our children, and as parents, we trust our educators with their safety, » Miami-Dade Police Director George Perez said in a statement. “I am appalled that this educator has tainted the good work of so many excellent educators. Child pornography has no place in society and we will continue to educate our youth about the dangers that surround them. I am very proud and grateful for all the investigators who have worked so diligently on this case. »
“These allegations are disturbing and understandably disturbing; We will cooperate fully with partner law enforcement agencies in the investigation of this case, » Miami-Dade County Public Schools officials said in a statement. “Miami-Dade County Public Schools is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for students, faculty and staff. The district has initiated a termination process and (Urquiza) will be barred from seeking future employment in that district.”
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