JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville middle school teacher is accused of exchanging sordid photos with minors while posing as a 15-year-old boy.
Kristopher Paul Beckstrom, who teaches music at Landon Middle School, was arrested on Wednesday after detectives questioned him about a complaint, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Beckstrom, 42, was booked into the Duval County jail on felony charges of producing or promoting the sexual performance by a minor and transmission of material harmful to minors, jail logs show.
His bond was set at $125,00 at his first appearance Thursday.
Once recognized as his school’s Teacher of the Year, Beckstrom is now suspected of swapping nude photos with underage users on social media, which could include past students, the Sheriff's Office said.
Duval County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Diana Greene said she’s aware of Beckstrom’s arrest. She said the school district must wait for police to complete their investigation.
“At this point, our action is that that teacher is not in any of our classrooms and will not be allowed on any of our campuses,” Greene said.
According to Beckstrom’s arrest report, a teen came forward Sept. 13, saying a user named “erikb20172018” had been sending her “random” requests for nude photos on Instagram and Snapchat.
She told police she ignored the messages until another user messaged her on Instagram Sept. 10 with a screenshot of the “erikb20172018” profile and a note that said: “He is not who you think he is.”
The other user said she too had been messaged by "Erik" in the past. But she thought it odd that he avoided sharing live videos with her and that the photos he shared didn't match his profile picture.
Confronted with these suspicions, the other user said, "Erik" told her that he was Kristopher -- a 42-year-old music teacher at Landon Middle School who was married with children, according to the report.
The victim told police the other user's description of sounded like her former teacher, too. She said he was described as a heavier-set, older, white man with distinctive facial hair.
According to police, the victim also reported that Beckstrom once indicated he took underwear out of a female student's bag that had been left behind in his class.
Police brought Beckstrom in for questioning on Wednesday. Based on his interview and the victim’s statements, he was taken into custody on the charges listed above.
Some parents were blindsided by the news. Brea Nelson described Beckstrom as a popular teacher among students.
“He was a great guy and a great teacher, so this is such shocking news,” she said. "Disheartening for anybody or parent who's dealing with the fact that their child had this teacher."
Jeff Tice said the teacher takes part in an after-school program his son is enrolled in.
“I’m sure everybody is shocked, and I think we have to support and let the process play out,” said Tice.
According to Duval County Public Schools, parents were notified of the charges against Beckstrom.
"Should he be released from custody, he will be immediately removed from the classroom and not have further contact with students pending the outcome of an internal investigation," a communication to parents reads in part.
Anyone with information that could help police is asked to contact the Sheriff's Office by phone at 904-630-0500 or via email at JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org.
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