Ex-Bronx teacher pleads guilty to receiving child porn

NEW YORK — A former Bronx high school teacher has pleaded guilty to receiving child porn.

Jon Cruz entered the plea in Manhattan federal court on Friday. Authorities said he paid at least five victims in different states to send him sexually explicit pictures while he was employed as a teacher and debate coach at Bronx High School for Science.

The 33-year-old Manhattan resident pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography, a charge carrying a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison. The maximum potential sentence is 20 years.

Prosecutors said Cruz carried out the crimes from July 2014 to December 2015 on a school computer. They said he posted a picture of a former student as he enticed teenage boys to send him photographs, sometimes nude.

Cruz admitted in 2015 that he had also solicited photographs from a student in exchange for a gift.

The investigation revealed Cruz had been in contact with boys in New Mexico and New York state through the apps Instagram and Kik in order to solicit photos. Investigators traced one of the Kik accounts to a New York City Public School System computer.

He reportedly paid a 15-year-old more than $500 to take and send sexually explicit photos of himself.

Some victims were former students of the school, according to the investigation.

Cruz's lawyer did not immediately comment.