Instead of preparing for his high school graduation, 18-year-old Armando Garcia is in jail without bond.
The El Paso High School senior, who won awards for his violin performances with the school orchestra, is facing child pornography charges.
"I will not believe (the charges) until (they're) proven and even then I'll question them because this is an accomplished young man who has everything before him," said Linda Troncoso, who knows Garcia and subsitued for some of his classes.
Garcia was arrested at his home Tuesday after federal agents served a search warrant at his home. According to court documents obtained by ABC-7, Garcia allegedly confessed to downloading illegal videos when questioned by authorities.
The documents said Garcia types in the word "pedo," which is a slang word for "pedophile," in a search on a file sharing network. Among the three suspect files investigators found on a laptop belonging to Garcia, one 16-minute video showed an adult male wearing a black mask having sex with a girl appearing to be 10 to 12 years old.
"There's quite a few networks that do that kind of file sharing," said Andrew Neal, a cyber security and computer forensics expert.
"The computer doesn't differentiate between MP3 files and child pornography pictures or video. The system doesn't know the difference-- it's the people using it," said Neal.
Neal explained file sharing networks can be difficult to police and/or shut down because they are composed of individual community members.
"It's all these individuals that advertise their machines as a place to come get files. There is no one place where you can go and say, 'If I turn this off, everything will go dark.' It doesn't work that way," said Neal.
However, Neal pointed out law enforcement officials do have ways of tracking down suspicious files beyond simply monitoring networks and flagged content.
"It's possible to create what is called a hash value of a file which is in essence a digital fingerprint. In law enforcement they know what the digital fingerprints are of some child pornography files that have been around for a while. They have a library of those so if they scan, they can quickly identify files that may be on the 'bad list.'"
Neal said once an illegal file is discovered, it can lead to the detection and prosecution of other users who have downloaded that file.
"Unfortunately a lot of child pornographers are collectors so they'd be able to find, OK, you got some of these files from here, some of these files from there and then they can start investigating that source so it's kind of the same way they unravel a drug ring: One person gets arrested they take the information from that, spin it out and find the other people involved," he said.
Experts remind parents to talk to their kids and be mindful of what they access online. Here are some tips from the Federal Bureau of Investigations:
--Communicate, and talk to your child about sexual victimization and potential on-line danger. --Spend time with your children on-line. Have them teach you about their favorite on-line destinations. --Keep the computer in a common room in the house, not in your child's bedroom. It is much more difficult for a computer-sex offender to communicate with a child when the computer screen is visible to a parent or another member of the household. --Utilize parental controls provided by your service provider and/or blocking software. --Always maintain access to your child's on-line account and randomly check his/her e-mail. Be aware that your child could be contacted through the U.S. Mail. Be up front with your child about your access and reasons why. --Teach your child the responsible use of the resources on-line. There is much more to the on-line experience than chat rooms. --Find out what computer safeguards are utilized by your child's school, the public library, and at the homes of your child's friends. These are all places, outside your normal supervision, where your child could encounter an on-line predator. "