- Filipino American teacher Alden Bunag, 33, was arrested by FBI agents in O‘ahu, Hawaii, over a child pornography distribution charge.
- Court documents say Bunag distributed child porn via the messaging app Telegram from around November 2019 up until at least October 2021.
- Bunag admitted during a voluntary interview with agents that he had prior sexual contact several times with a 13-year-old former student and then shared at least one video of them with others online.
- Bunag, who has a preliminary hearing set for June 27, faces a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted.
FBI agents have arrested a Filipino American teacher in O‘ahu, Hawaii, and charged him with distribution of child pornography.
Alden Bunag, 33, was served search warrants at his home and on his person. He was apprehended at Pearl City High School (PCHS), where he taught summer school, on June 15.
According to court documents, Bunag distributed child porn via the instant messaging app Telegram from around November 2019 up until at least October 2021.
“The sexual abuse of children – a reprehensible crime – is especially exploitative when committed by a teacher against a minor student victim,” U.S. Attorney for the District of Hawaii Clare E. Connors said in a news release. “Recording such crimes and distributing the images to others compounds and perpetuates the victimization.”
The FBI discovered his illegal activities following a separate child pornography investigation of a teacher at a private school in Philadelphia, according to reports.
The agents said they came across numerous conversations between the Philadelphia teacher and Bunag on Telegram, where they discussed and traded child pornography with each other.
The two teachers reportedly exchanged over 3,392 messages, many of which contained images and videos, from March 31, 2018, to Oct. 1, 2021. The Philadelphia teacher was arrested in October last year.
During a voluntary interview with agents, Bunag admitted that he had prior sexual contact several times with a 13-year-old boy he described as a former student. He confessed that he knew the victim was a minor at the time, according to authorities.
In Hawaii, the age of consent is 16 years old. Sexual activity with individuals aged 15 or younger may result in prosecution for statutory rape.
Bunag purportedly filmed sexual encounters with the boy during his lunch break at school and shared at least one video with the Philadelphia teacher and others online. He also admitted to sharing child porn featuring other underaged victims.
A former student said Bunag acted “very friendly with all of the kids, especially the male students,” while another described him as “an odd guy.”
According to the Hawaii Department of Education, Bunag has taught at different schools since 2012, including Leeward Oahu District as a substitute teacher from 2017 to 2022, Ilima Intermediate as a part-time temporary teacher from 2016 to 2017 and PCHS as a part-time temporary teacher from 2020 2022. PCHS stated that the alleged incident did not involve one of their students.
The Navy also said in a letter sent to parents on Friday that Bunag once worked at the Hickam School Age Care and Teen Center in a part-time role.
Bunag’s preliminary hearing has been set for June 27. He faces a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted.