A former elementary school teacher who produced pornographic images of his 15-year-old ex-student was sentenced today to 360 months in federal prison, the result of an extensive investigation by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Los Angeles and the Burbank Police Department.
Sean David Sigler, 56, of Burbank, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt, who described Sigler’s conduct as “inexcusable,” and further said, “Ruining the lives of minors is unspeakable.”
Sigler, who pleaded guilty in September 2019 to two counts of production of child pornography, previously taught fifth-grade students at Bret Harte Elementary School in Burbank and at Gardner Street Elementary School in Hollywood.
Sigler was the victim’s fifth-grade teacher and kept in contact with her after she left his classroom, using his position as former teacher and mentor to gain the trust of the victim and her parent. Sigler then exploited that trust to gain sexual access to the girl. Over the course of 15 months, Sigler regularly transported the victim to his home, where he gave her alcoholic beverages and pills.
Sigler began having sex with the minor victim when she was 15 years old, and he created multiple sexually explicit videos of the victim and took sexually explicit photographs of her. The illicit conduct took place between September 2016 and May 2017.
He also created child pornography by modifying a pornographic image of the minor victim’s body and digitally superimposing the face of a different underage former student, according to a January 2018 HSI search of Sigler’s digital devices. The devices contained numerous images and videos of his sexual acts with the victim, as well as more than 5,000 images of child pornography depicting unknown and previously identified pre-pubescent minors.
Sigler agreed to forfeit $271,506 in cash seized by the government, which constitutes the proceeds from the sale of the home where he produced child pornography.
The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California’s Violent and Organized Crime Section, Intellectual Property Crimes Section, and Asset Forfeiture Section.
HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 Special Agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.