FORT WORTH — Former Denton teacher Greg Bogomol solicited nude photos from eight Denton High School students and may have had improper contact with numerous students in North Texas since 2003, a federal agent testified Wednesday.
During a detention hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Cureton, Homeland Security Special Agent Amanda Johnson testified that Bogomol provided her with a list of the eight students from whom he had solicited photos at Denton High, where he worked as a journalism teacher.
Johnson said more potential victims could be discovered once the eight students are interviewed. Bogomol had been spending at least two to three hours a day on social media outlets for the last couple of years, soliciting nude photos from minors, Johnson said.
“An investigation is still underway,” she testified Wednesday in federal court, as Bogomol’s mother and wife looked on. “This is just the beginning.”
Cureton deemed Bogomol a danger to the community Wednesday and ordered that he remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service until further notice. Since his arrest, he has been held at a unit in Mansfield, officials said.
Cody Cofer, Bogomol’s attorney, had asked the court to allow Bogomol to be released with a GPS tracking device or other monitors because of poor health.
Bogomol, 38, of Fort Worth, was arrested Friday on a federal charge of possessing child pornography after investigations connected him with a lewd photo of a 15-year-old Louisiana boy on his cellphone. He had worked as a journalism teacher at Denton High for four years until he resigned May 8, school officials said.
Denton school district officials posted a letter to parents on the high school’s website Wednesday in English and in Spanish. The letter, from Denton High School Principal Dan Ford, stressed student safety, an open-door policy and keeping parents informed.
Denton school district Superintendent Jamie Wilson indicated Wednesday that he was not aware of the contact with local students.
“If what he has said is true, we are very disappointed,” Wilson said in an email Wednesday afternoon to the Denton Record-Chronicle. “We hold our teachers to a high ethical standard, and for that standard to be compromised is inexcusable.”
Denton school officials notified the Texas Education Agency about the investigation, and officials there said they, too, have opened an investigation into Bogomol. State records show that he began teaching in Texas in 2000 with an emergency permit to teach elementary physical education, and received his elementary teaching certificate in 2002. He later received additional certifications from the state, but several of those have expired. The State Board of Educator Certification added a notation Wednesday to its website that Bogomol is under investigation.
During her testimony, Johnson told the court that she believes Bogomol has been soliciting photos since at least 2003. She said agents have interviewed one of the students whose name was provided by Bogomol and reported that the student “became depressed and disinterested in school and sports” after the interaction with Bogomol.
There were issues with at least one other school where Bogomol had been employed, Johnson said. She did not provide additional details, except to say that students in other schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area could have been in contact with him.
According to a copy of Bogomol’s resume obtained by the Record-Chronicle through an open-records request to the Denton school district, Bogomol said he had taught in five school districts, including Denton, Arlington, Eagle Mountain-Saginaw, Castleberry and White Settlement. He also reported working as a Sunday school teacher and aide in the first- and fifth-grade classrooms at Temple Beth-El in Fort Worth.
Officials with those school districts and Temple Beth-El could not be reached for comment late Wednesday afternoon.
The federal investigation began after the parents of the 15-year-old boy contacted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in Lake Charles, La. The boy had thought he was sharing information with a 16-year-old girl named “Crystal Williams” through a cellphone application, but he notified his parents after the photo he sent was met with additional demands. The photo was traced to Bogomol’s phone, according to a sworn statement by Johnson filed in federal court.
Bogomol’s wife of eight years, Regina Bogomol, also testified Wednesday, saying her husband had suffered from depression since marshals first went to their home May 6 and that he also is undergoing treatment for diabetes. She said she did not know anything about the alleged improper behavior and was shocked when marshals showed up at their home this month.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Aisha Saleem would not comment after the detention hearing, but she did say in open court that she felt Greg Bogomol was a threat to the community.
Officials said another detention hearing could be requested at any time. Cofer said it was too early to tell what he will be requesting in the foreseeable future.
“I haven’t even received discovery from the government at this moment,” he said. “I need to discuss things over with my client’s family first.”
Bogomol also had worked as a freelance sports writer for the Record-Chronicle, The Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, but was not currently working for any of the newspapers. He last wrote for the Record-Chronicle in early 2012.
MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.