June 22, 2022, 11:00 AM HST
* Updated June 22, 10:36 AM
A federal judge has ruled that an O’ahu high school teacher be detained in custody pending trial on a charge of distribution of child pornography.
Tuesday’s ruling in United States District Court in Honolulu followed Alden Bunag’s arrest last week at an O’ahu high school where he was working as a summer school teacher. A preliminary hearing is set for June 27.
Bunag is charged with distributing child pornography between November 2019 and October 2021. According to the criminal complaint and affidavit, law enforcement agents reviewed at least two video recordings of Bunag’s sexual conduct with a then-13-year-old alumnus, at least one of which he sent to another person in Pennsylvania. Agents further reviewed numerous images and videos identified as child pornography that were sent to others.
“The sexual abuse of children – a reprehensible crime – is especially exploitative when committed by a teacher against a minor student victim,” said Clare E. Connors, United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii. “Recording such crimes and distributing the images to others compounds and perpetuates the victimization.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Steven Merrill said Bunag has been detained in what is an especially egregious and serious case as he was a teacher within Hawaii’s Department of Education whose young victims may be unaware of what happened to them.
Merrill said individuals with information, or those who believe they are a victim, are urged to immediately contact the Honolulu FBI at 808-673-2705 or [email protected].
“These tip lines were specifically set up for this investigation as we believe there may be more victims out there who may assist in our investigation,” the special agent said.
If indicted and convicted on this charge, Bunag a faces minimum term of imprisonment of five years and up to 20 years.