A former Chicago public school elementary teacher was sentenced Monday to 50 years in federal prison for child molestation and child pornography, the US Department of Justice said in a press release.
Pedro Ibarra, 48, accepted a plea deal earlier this year on charges of sexually exploiting a child and attempted sexual exploitation of a child. He was first charged in February 2022 after sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy in neighboring Indiana the previous summer.
A federal sentencing memorandum is written in a manner that lucidly recounts and condemns the conduct of the accused throughout.
“Ibarra drove approximately 4 hours to assault a 12-year-old boy,” the court document begins. “Four hours. Ibarra had four hours to recognize the wrongfulness of his conduct. Ibarra had four hours to reflect on the fact that the child he was about to see was a quarter of his age. Ibarra had four hours to recognize that this boy was the same age as some students at Ibarra Elementary School.
Prior to his arrest, the accused taught elementary school students for approximately 18 years, most recently at Volta Elementary in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood. Just over a year before his arrest, Ibarra successfully defended himself against allegations that he improperly touched and grabbed a brother and sister’s buttocks on numerous occasions. Brought up for misdemeanor, he was acquitted.
On June 21, 2021, Ibarra began messaging the boy who lived in Indiana. During online chats and calls on Google Duo, the accused convinced the boy to record sexually explicit material. The next day, Ibarra went to the minor’s house, picked him up, took him to the hotel and sexually assaulted him. Some of these abuses have been recorded.
However, the boy’s parents called to report him missing that night. The boy returned home while police were still there and, according to the sentencing note, “reported that ‘Pete’, a man he met online, had taken him to a local County County motel. Hancock and engaged him in sexually explicit conduct at the motel.”
Ibarra was identified and arrested on June 23, 2021.
Once local law enforcement learned he had crossed state lines to abuse the boy, federal agents were brought in on the case and the defendant’s electronic devices were seized. Law enforcement first found the video Ibarra recorded of his conversations with the Indiana boy, along with additional child pornography material depicting another minor.
The identity of the second boy was confirmed by his mother after federal agents showed him ‘sanitized exploitation footage’. He was sexually abused at an Americinn in Oswego, Il. early June 2021. And, again, child pornography material was produced from that meeting.
In the sentencing note, the government relays graphic representations of the content discovered on Ibarra’s cellphone.
“At the time of sentencing, the Government will show the Court a photograph of [the Indiana boy], taken the night Ibarra saw it,” the document reads. “His extreme youth is evident. The wrongfulness of the conduct should have been more than apparent from the moment Ibarra saw the child in person – if it had not taken place in Ibarra at any time before that.
In another section of the memo, the government goes back and forth between what the second boy told government agents about what he expected to happen at the hotel and how he appeared to act in conversations with the accused. In sum, the boy later voiced the idea that he thought Ibarra was also a teenager he was just going swimming with – but the government doesn’t believe that to be true.
Excerpt from the memo in detail:
The government’s position is that on June 2, 2021, at the Oswego Motel, Underage Victim 2 intended to express her romantic feelings for Ibarra, someone the child believed to know and love. The government’s position is also that underage victim 2 probably did not expect a male in his 40s to arrive. Based on the text messages, Underage Victim 2 knew that Ibarra was able to drive, afford a motel room, and that Ibarra had some kind of job; however, nothing in the chat suggests that underage victim 2 was looking for a much older man (e.g. references to “dad”). The same goes for Minor Victim 1, who also indicated that he believed Ibarra was closer to his age.
“While each child may have downplayed their own involvement, and likely have, the government is simply offering this: This is what happens when you try to pretend a child can be a consenting sexual partner,” continues the folder. “A 12 or 14 year old boy can develop a crush or sexual attraction to another person without desiring invasive sexual contact with a man four times his age. Boys of this age think they want a lot of things.
The document goes on to say that the second boy, months after the encounter, had begun a process of suicidal ideation and is now undergoing weekly therapy sessions in an effort to cope with the trauma.
The government also alleges that Ibarra attempted, but ultimately failed, to meet a 13-year-old boy from Indiana through SnapChat and “another platform.” He also possessed a large amount of child pornography, the memo notes, “representing at least 19 identified victims,” which the governments say “is likely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Ibarra’s collection. of child sexual abuse material” due to data storage. and collection issues.
By agreeing to plead guilty, the accused accepted a sentence of 30 to 90 years behind bars. The government required a minimum sentence of 50 years. Judge James Patrick Hanlon compelled this request. If Ibarra is ever released from prison, he will be subject to lifelong supervision.
The sentence note describes the length of years as necessary to protect the community as a whole [emphasis in original]:
Parents and school officials trusted Ibarra with the children because no one knew he was untrustworthy. No one knew what he was doing online when he got home. No one was aware of his sexual attraction to minors. And maybe if Ibarra never came to Hancock County, IN, we would lack hard evidence of Ibarra’s depravity. If no one had immediately arrested Ibarra, seized his phone, and conducted a thorough search of that phone, who knows what would have become of the allegations of underage victim 1. If Ibarra had not recorded his sexual abuse of minors, he is likely no one would have believed that Ibarra had even a victim.
“Ibarra hunted online and went to great lengths to cultivate the victims,” the Assistant United States Attorney said. Kristina M. Korobov concludes. “Ibarra’s calculation speaks to his character, his sexual appetite, and the lengths Ibarra was and is willing to go to in order to feed his amoral desires. … Calculating offenders like Ibarra need that kind of deterrence. The community and our children deserve this protection.[image via Hancock County Sheriff’s Department]
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