Bakersfield teacher’s aide charged with child porn possession thought about acting on urges: reports

Crime Watch

Matthew Cornejo admitted to viewing hundreds of images of child pornography, court documents say.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — When police asked to speak with him Nov. 18, Matthew Cornejo believed they wanted to question him about his homosexuality.

The Old River Elementary School teacher’s aide said he was openly gay and didn’t hide it from students, according to court documents. And he acknowledged a recent interaction where he told 6th grade students they looked cute dressed for the school’s picture day.

“One of the girls made it weird,” Cornejo told detectives. He said she told him, “Mr. Matt you’re trying to catch a charge with that kid.”

Following his discussion with investigators, Cornejo was in fact charged, not for interactions with students but for allegedly sending himself hundreds of images and videos of child pornography. The documents say he admitted viewing the material.

Asked why, Cornejo said it interested him because it was “weird and taboo” and “it being out there and controversial,” the documents say. He also said he found it sexually interesting, the documents say.

“I felt excited, then I, you know, I felt bad after, especially working at a school, I felt like I was contradicting myself,” he told investigators according to the documents.

A detective asked if he ever tried acting on his sexual urges involving children.

Cornejo said he thought about it but didn’t go through with it because he didn’t want to harm a child or damage his reputation, the filings say.

Cornejo, 28 at the time of his arrest, is free on $10,000 bail and due back in court March 7. A preliminary hearing — where a judge will hear evidence and determine if Cornejo will stand trial — is scheduled March 8.

Panama-Buena Vista Union School District officials have said Cornejo was placed on administrative leave. No local children had been identified as victims, police said.

Police received a CyberTipline report Nov. 16 saying 271 images of child pornography were sent to and from a Yahoo email account belonging to Cornejo, according to court filings. Detectives tracked the account to Cornejo and seized his cellphone and laptop.

District officials said Cornejo had been employed since 2014 as an instruction support aide and became a school aide in 2020, the filings say. Before admitting to possessing the pornographic images, Cornejo told investigators he was interested in becoming a teacher.

The documents say Cornejo voluntarily went with detectives who approached him as he left school. They went to police headquarters where Cornejo talked about his career in education and his sexuality. They asked him why he believed he was being questioned.

“I would assume me being open about being gay around some of the kids,” Cornejo said according to the filings.

He told investigators his last serious relationship was in 2014. His last relationship of any kind ended about a year ago, Cornejo said according to the filings.

After the incident where he made the comment to students on picture day, Cornejo said he became more cautious, according to the documents. He said he didn’t want to risk losing his job and he “loves the kids,” the filings say.

The conversation shifted toward erotic materials Cornejo was interested in. He told investigators about adult websites he went to where he sometimes downloaded pornographic files to his phone.

Detectives asked if he recalled sending multiple emails to himself on Oct. 24 containing files and image attachments.

“At this time Matthew Cornejo became visible upset before saying, ‘It was child porn,'” a detective wrote in the documents. He said it was his first time downloading child pornography.

Cornejo told investigators he previously only searched for images of shirtless boys, the filings say. He said he viewed the child pornography files on three occasions, adding he also sent himself pornography with adults, including adult pornography he altered by using Photoshop to put faces of adult friends in the images.

The detectives went over the images Cornejo admitted viewing. They asked him how old he believed the children were in each image.

In one photo, the person depicted appeared to be 15 or 16, Cornejo said according to the documents. Another had a child about 7 or 8 years old, he said, and another “probably 4 or 5.”

“Matthew Cornejo stated he was aroused by all of the photographs, including the very young boys, but particularly by the early pubescent boys … ,” an investigator wrote.

The detectives then went over several videos with him, each of which Cornejo acknowledged depicted sex acts involving children, according to the documents.

The last video they reviewed was the most shocking, a detective wrote. He asked Cornejo the age of the child.

“Probably not even a year,” Cornejo said according to the documents.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest News

More Local News