Keith Preston Gartenlaub, Eric James Mitchell Child Porn Cases and MV Flasher

A week of child pornin'
A week of child pornin'
Jay Brockman

This week we feature two child pornography cases in Los Angeles, where a Boeing engineer from Laguna Hills has been convicted but not sentenced, and a middle school music teacher from Long Beach has been charged.

Keith Preston Gartenlaub, the Laguna Hills resident who used to work as a Boeing manager and engineer, could have at least one of two guilty verdicts tossed from a federal child pornography case, according to U.S. District Judge Christina Snyder in Los Angeles. Gartenlaub, 47, was found guilty in December of possession and attempted receipt/receipt of child porn, and federal prosecutors want him sentenced to 10 years behind bars. Snyder last week tentatively denied defense motions for acquittal on the two counts, indicating she may toss one verdict. The move delayed sentencing; no date for that hearing has been set. Mark Werksman, Gartenlaub's attorney, argues that since the illicit material was discovered as a result of a warrant issued to investigate a potential Boeing data leak, his client should be acquitted. "They stumble(d) upon this evidence in the midst of an unrelated investigation," Werksman said.

Eric James Mitchell, the middle school music teacher who resides in Long Beach, was arraigned in Los Angeles County Superior Court last week for allegedly possessing more than 600 images of child pornography.  A tip that originated in Brussels, Belgium, led to a search warrant being served at Mitchell's home, where an examination of digital devices turned up "sexually explicit images of minors," according to Virginia Kice of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  "We don't have any indication at this time that this individual victimized any of his students, but that's certainly a concern whenever we're investigating a child pornography suspect who has close and ongoing contact with children," Joseph Macias, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations Los Angeles, said last month. Agents informed the Torrance Unified School District about the investigation and Mitchell was placed on administrative leave. The 36-year-old faces up to five years in state prison if convicted, according to the LA County District Attorney's office.

Orange County sheriff's deputies are looking for a man who has been flashing his junk in the direction of schoolchildren in Mission Viejo. A call Friday about a suspicious person in the creek west of Glen Yermo Elementary School sent deputies around noon to that area of Mission Viejo, where they say they saw a man who apparently had his pants down while facing the campus. As deputies approached, he darted off, and an "intense" search on the ground and by air failed to turn him up, the sheriff's department says. Further investigation revealed a fellow of a similar description had twice flashed different school girls in the same area a week prior, deputies say. The man they seek is described as white, in his 40s, bout 185 pounds with a medium build. The guy deputies observed was wearing a tan baseball hat, light blue shirt, dark basketball style shorts and dark colored shoes. They also released a composite sketch. If that looks like anyone you know or if you have more information about any of the incidents, call the Orange County Sheriff's Department at 714.628.7170.  Anonymous tips can be submitted to Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855.847.6227 (855-TIP-OCCS), via occrimestoppers.org or by texting to 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S) from a cell phone. (All text messages should begin with the letters "OCCS".)


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