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El Paso church youth minister facing child porn charges denied bond
The El Paso Times reports that Joe Tapia III was recently federally indicted for sex crimes involving two El Paso youth while serving as youth pastor at San Jose Catholic Church in El Paso's Lower Valley. Gilstrap & Associates, sexual abuse lawyers in El Paso, have recovered millions of dollars for survivors of sexual abuse from the Catholic Diocese of El Paso. If you or a loved one were abused, photographed or otherwise inappropriately treated by Joe Tapia or have any information regarding Tapia, please call 915.581.0020 or email All inquiries will remain strictly confidential.

Below is today's article from Adriana Chavez of the El Paso Times regarding Tapia.

By Adriana M. Ch�vez / El Paso
Posted: 05/04/2012 12:24:02 PM MDT

Joe Tapia III (Times file photo)A youth minister at a Lower Valley church has been ordered jailed without bond while he awaits his trial date on child pornography charges.
Joe Tapia III, 46, is accused in a criminal complaint filed in federal court of downloading several nude images of young boys on his work computer at Excel Learning Center, where he worked as an admissions service representative, and of engaging in a sexually-explicit Internet chat with someone whom he believed was a 16-year-old boy in Argentina.

Tapia is also accused of taking nude photographs of two boys, each 15 years old, and sending photos of one boy to seven online contacts.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Norbert Garney ordered Tapia held without bond, calling him a potential danger to the community, during a hearing Friday morning.

Tapia is a youth minister at San Jose Catholic Church. In the past, he has also worked as a supervisor at Upper Rio Grande @ Work.

Tapia appeared at the hearing, wearing a dark blue El Paso County Detention Center jumpsuit and bright orange slip-on shoes. Several members of his family were also at the hearing to lend his support, including his wife and two children.

As Tapia was escorted into the courtroom by deputies with the U.S. Marshals Service, several members of his family grasped each other's hands and prayed quietly. He nodded at his family, winking at them slightly.

Federal prosecutors said in their complaint affidavit against Tapia that he allegedly admitted to distributing the photos of the boy he photographed to his contacts.

In October, FBI agents received a complaint from one of Tapia's coworkers at Excel alleging Tapia had been viewing the child pornography on his work computer. One day, when Tapia was out of the office attending a job fair on behalf of his workplace, the coworker went through his computer and found the images and a log of the sexually-explicit chat.

FBI Special Agent Jay Mortenson testified at Friday's hearing that agents, with the permission of Tapia's employer, scanned the work computer and also discovered the images, which featured boys between the ages of 12 and 13.

On executed a search warrant at Tapia's home and arrested him. During questioning, Tapia allegedly told the agents about the child pornography. "He said the youngest photo we would find on his Yahoo account would be of a 10 year old," Mortenson said during the hearing.

Tapia also allegedly told agents he took photos and videos of two underage boys, identified in the complaint affidavit only as "T" and "J."

In one incident three years ago, Tapia allegedly described taking photos of "T" when the boy was changing for a performance at Tapia's church in April 2009. The complaint states Tapia described another incident where he took photos of an 18-year-old boy last year, also while he was changing for a church performance.

The most recent incident took place last months, when Tapia allegedly took photos and video of "J." Both "T" and "J" told agents Tapia also touched their genitalia.

During Friday's hearing, Tapia's attorney, Erik Hanshew, asked Mortenson if there was any evidence that Tapia sent the photos to any of his contacts. Mortenson said no, but that the investigation was still in its early stages.

When Hanshew tried to point out to Garney that there was no evidence of distribution, Garney disagreed, stating Tapia's statement that he did so is considered evidence.

Tapia faces between 15 to 30 years in prison if convicted.

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