El Paso diocesan school board member admits to downloading child pornography, according to affidavit

EL PASO, Texas - Victor J. Reza, an El Paso diocesan school board member, admitted to investigators to downloading child pornography, according to the affidavit in the case.

Reza was arrested on Tuesday on a federal child porn charge. According to jail records, Reza has been charged with in transit/receipt and distribution of child sexual exploitation material.

In the affidavit Reza told investigators that he works in the computer and information technology (IT) field.

Reza stated in the affidavit that he likes all kinds of pornography, but prefers "rape pornography," "heavy action pornography but not gang rapes," and pornography that includes young girls "coming of age."

He also said he searches for "PTHC," which Reza explained means "pre-teen hardcore" and it involves children performing sex acts who are "underage."

Reza said in the affidavit that "underage" to him is "around 16 years or younger. and that he would search, download, view and pleasure himself to child pornography about one time a month for the last three to five years.

Reza stated he has not physically molested any children and denies that he was ever physically abused as a child.

Reza also said that he would not have stopped downloading, viewing, and pleasuring himself to child pornography if investigators had not served the search warrant at his house.

A somber looking Reza did not answer any questions from the media as he was walked from the county jail to a vehicle Wednesday morning, pausing only to give a brief "no comment" before being seatbelted into the vehicle.

The diocesan school board oversees matters pertaining to education for the elementary and secondary schools of the diocese.

It's unclear at this point whether Reza had any direct contact with children as a part of the board.

The Catholic Diocese of El Paso released the following statement late Wednesday afternoon:

Anytime we hear of an allegation of sexual misconduct or abuse of a minor we are very concerned. Mr. Victor J. Reza is a member of our Diocesan School Board and has served since 2008.

The School Board members advise the Diocesan Bishop on matters of Catholic School Policies. They are required to undergo a criminal background check and Safe Environment training for the Diocese.

Mr. Reza completed these requirements. The Diocese cannot comment on the details of this issue since it is an ongoing criminal investigation.

In the Catholic Diocese of El Paso, we have diligently worked to make our parishes and schools safe from predators and to educate our people on the scourge of sexual misconduct and abuse.

This is one of the Diocese's highest priorities. It will be the priority of the Diocese to insure that any instances of sexual abuse by priests, religious, lay employees or volunteers are promptly reported in accordance with  Texas laws and thoroughly investigated.

Priests or religious, or for that matter, any employee or volunteer of this Diocese who is determined to have engaged in sexual abuse or misconduct will be removed from his or her ministry.

I would like everyone to know of the fact that this Diocese has had a process in place for many years through which persons who claims to have been sexually abused by a priest, religious or employee of this Diocese can file a complaint and, if the complaint is found to be credible, receive relief in a form justified by the facts of the case.

This process involves confidentiality out of respect for the complainant and has been very successful. Individuals who make it known that they have been sexually abused are not just advised of the availability of the process but are urged to make use (of) it.

I encourage anyone who has been a victim of child sexual abuse by any employee of the Roman Catholic Church to please come forward by contacting Susan Martinez, LCSW, at the Victims Assistance Ministry, 915-872-8465 or Furthermore, I would encourage them to contact local authorities.

Rev. Anthony C. Celino, JCL.
Vicar General/Moderator of the Curia

Reza is the second person with ties to the Catholic Diocese of El Paso to be arrested on a child porn charge in recent years.

In May 2012, Joe Tapia III, then a youth minister at San Jose Catholic Church in the diocese was arrested and charged with the sexual exploitation of children for allegedly receiving and producing child pornography.

In January 2013, Tapia was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison on the charges. Tapia admitted in Oct. 2012 to taking pictures of two children changing for church performances and then he used those to try to obtain more sexually explicit images of children.

Tapia was also sentenced to lifetime supervision.

Tapia spent three years as the head of youth ministry at San Jose Catholic Parish.

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