YOUNGSVILLE, La. (KLFY) — Former teacher Jacob De La Paz, who left his employ at St. Thomas More High School abruptly on Wednesday under a cloud of suspicion, has been arrested in Youngsville.
Authorities have confirmed to KLFY that De La Paz, 33, was arrested at approximately 6 p.m. Thursday by agents from the Department of Homeland Security, assisted by the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office.
In a statement, Homeland Security Public Affairs Officer Sarah Loicano said the investigation is ongoing.
“Special agents with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Lafayette received information regarding a possible child exploitation event which led to the arrest of Jacob De La Paz on April 27 on violation of 18 USC 2251; Enticing a minor to produce child pornography/Child Sexual Assault Material,” the statement read. “He is currently in federal custody. As this is an ongoing investigation and additional charges may be pending, we are unable to provide additional information at this time. HSI worked jointly with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office, Vermillion Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Louisiana Bureau of Investigations during this investigation.”
The statement asks if you or anyone you know may have been exploited by De La Paz, to please call the HSI toll-free tip line, (866) 347-2423, or fill out the online tip form, or contact the Western District of Louisiana U.S. Attorney’s office at 318-676-7600.
De La Paz is currently being held at the St. Martin Parish Jail awaiting the U.S. Marshals Service.
The former teacher was the subject of a message sent by STM which notified parents that he “is no longer employed by or associated with STM in any capacity” as of Wednesday. The message did not specify if De La Paz was fired or resigned.
De La Paz was previously employed at a school in Arkansas, where he was found to have “engaged in inappropriate communication with a student via text messaging” in 2017, and at North Vermilion High School.
This story may be updated as further information becomes available.