A former teaching assistant was indicted Tuesday in Hawaii’s first “sexting” case to result in criminal charges.
Cody M. Onizuka, 25, was charged by an Oahu grand jury with promoting child abuse via sexually explicit text messages exchanged with a 12-year-old female student at Niu Valley Middle School.
Promoting child abuse includes possession of child pornography and is punishable with up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine, according to a press release from Honolulu Prosecuting Attorney Keith Kaneshiro.
The indictment states that Onizuka in 2010 tried to engage in a sexual relationship with the student and disregarded a restraining order the child’s mother obtained against him. He is also accused of persuading the child to text him nude photographs of herself, which he then used in a series of “sexting” episodes with her.
When the mother learned of the episodes, she called police and they found the images in Onizuka’s house. He has since been dismissed by the Department of Education.
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