Teacher Arrested After Illicit Video Is Found

On Thursday, local news outlets in Louisiana reported that 33-year-old teacher Jacob de la Paz was detained on federal charges of luring a juvenile to generate child pornography.

The former Louisiana instructor has been indicted after a video of him making sexually inappropriate comments to a student he claims to tutor surfaced. In the video, he is shirtless.

De la Paz worked at St. Thomas More Catholic High School in Lafayette, where he taught math and coached the running team. Before that, from 2017 until 2022, he was a teacher in Vermilion Parish. 

Saturday found him still behind bars in St. Martin Parish. If he’s retained a lawyer to represent him in court is unknown.

Chancellor Rev. Michael J. Russo informed parents in an email that De la Paz had been let go from his position as of Wednesday. He responded that no allegations had been made against Mr. De La Paz and that school administrators had no cause to suspect wrongdoing on his part. He said there had been no complaints about De la Paz’s performance as a teacher or coach.

According to Russo’s letter, the former educator was highly recommended by Vermilion Parish and had already been vetted by both that school and St. Thomas More. However, while teaching in Arkansas, he faced consequences for inappropriate texting with another student.

According to the priest’s letter, De la Paz disclosed this as a “minor indiscretion” to the institution. 

In 2015, in Arkansas, De la Paz was accused of grooming a student through inappropriate text messages. According to the Acadiana Advocate, De la Paz messaged the student about wanting to be in a relationship. Later, he reportedly begged the student to lie about their relationship to protect each other.

After De la Paz appealed the state’s recommendation to suspend his teaching license for five years, the board placed him on three years of probation, fined him $250, and required him to complete some professional development coursework.

When Vermilion Parish hired De la Paz, Superintendent Tommy Byler said the district was aware of the disciplinary action in Arkansas but was assured that the teacher could still work. 

After Arkansas decided not to suspend De la Paz’s license, he got a permanent teaching certificate in Louisiana, he said.