Former Massapequa High School Teacher Sentenced to Five Years in Prison for Transporting Child Pornography



Joseph Zanco, a former Massapequa High School teacher, was sentenced today at the federal courthouse in Central Islip to five years’ imprisonment by United States Circuit Court Judge Joseph F. Bianco for transporting child pornography in interstate and foreign commerce.  As part of his sentence, Zanco must serve seven years of supervised release following his imprisonment during which time he must register as a sex offender and may not have unsupervised contact with minors.  Zanco pleaded guilty in April 2019.




Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent-in-Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, New York (HSI), announced the sentence.

In April 2018, Zanco began uploading hundreds of images of child pornography to the cloud-based Google Drive storage feature of his Google account.  After receiving notification from Google, law enforcement authorities obtained search warrants and recovered child pornography from his Google account.  Additional images and videos containing child pornography were recovered from Zanco’s cell phone and laptop computer.

“As a licensed teacher, Zanco had a mandatory obligation to report crimes against children, and today he was punished for doing just the opposite: perpetuating their victimization by his transportation and possession of child pornography,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.  “The protection of children will always be a priority of this Office.”

“Zanco, a man who was entrusted to teach our youth, violated that trust by engaging in the transmission and possession of child pornography,” stated HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Fitzhugh.  “We expect our teachers to educate and care for our children and when one violates that position of trust by sharing these alarming depictions, HSI and our law enforcement partners will stop at nothing to put an end to the facilitation and creation of children being victimized.  One of HSI’s priorities will continue to be centered around child exploitation investigations to protect our most innocent – our children

This prosecution is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.  Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division.  Assistant United States Attorney Michael Maffei is in charge of the prosecution.

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