Music teacher in Torrance arrested for alleged child-porn possession

A music teacher at a Torrance middle school was arrested Friday for allegedly possessing child pornography after a tip came in from overseas federal agents.

Eric James Mitchell, 36, was arrested after Homeland Security Investigations agents served a search warrant at his Long Beach home and allegedly found sexually explicit images of minors on digital devices there, officials said.

Mitchell teaches music at Calle Mayor Middle School and gives private instruction,

"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," said Joseph Macias, special agent in charge of HSI Los Angeles.

When notified of the arrest, the Torrance Unified School District placed Mitchell on administrative leave, federal officials said.

The investigation began based on a tip from Homeland Security officials at an attache office in Brussels, Belgium. It is linked to HSI's international initiative Operation Predator, which aims to protect children from sexual crimes, including trafficking and pornography.

Investigators asked anyone with more information about the case to contact U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's tip line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or fill out an online tip form.
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