Miami Beach Senior High School Teacher Arrested on Child Porn Charges

A teacher at Miami Beach Senior High School was arrested on child pornography charges, officials said.

Paul Urquiza, 32, was arrested early Wednesday on charges including possessing images of a sexual performance by a child, computer services/certain uses prohibited, electronic transmission harmful to minors and unlawful use of a communications device, according to an arrest affidavit.

According to the affidavit, Miami-Dade Police began investigating Urquiza in September when the International Criminal Police Organization, also known as INTERPOL, received a tip about a suspect in the Miami area who was communicating inappropriately with a 16-year-old in Hampshire, England.

Paul Urquiza

Miami-Dade Corrections

Paul Urquiza

Investigators confirmed that Urquiza had been speaking with and sharing pornography with the girl, the affidavit said.

The victim said she met Urquiza through Reddit, after she commented on a picture of his cat and he sent her a private message, the affidavit said.

The girl told Urquiza she was 16 and lived with her mother and sisters, the affidavit said.

The two became friendly enough that she watched him graduate from Miami-Dade College on a livestream, and he told her he would be teaching mathematics at Miami Beach Senior High, the affidavit said.

Urquiza even helped the teen with her homework and read a Harry Potter book aloud to her, the affidavit said.

Within a week Urquiza told the girl he loved her, and started making increasing demands for photos of her, the affidavit said.

Initially he requested photos of her in lingerie, but soon demanded nude photos, the affidavit said.

“If the victim refused, he would ignore her, which manipulated her into sending the nude photographs so that she could have his attention again,” the affidavit said.

The girl estimated that she sent Urquiza nude photos of herself every other day for about four months, the affidavit said.

Urquiza would send the girl lewd videos of himself and would forward adult pornography websites to the teen, the affidavit said.

At one point, Urquiza asked to see the girl in person, and even offered to buy her a plane ticket to travel to Miami or to meet in Spain, according to the affidavit.

Urquiza also befriended the girl’s school friends online, the affidavit said.

But when the girl accidentally sent a nude photo of herself that was intended for Urquiza to her mother, the mother took her phone and contacted authorities, the affidavit said.

Detectives were able to identify Urquiza through social media accounts, a cellphone number and email, the affidavit said.

“As a father, I am devastated for the involved child. Schools are supposed to be a safe haven for our children, and as parents we entrust our educators with their safety,” Miami-Dade Police Director George A. Perez said in a statement. “I’m appalled that this educator has stained the good work of so many excellent educators. There is no room in society for child pornography and we will continue to educate our youth on the dangers surrounding them. I am very proud and grateful to all the investigators that worked so diligently on this case.”

Urquiza was booked into the Miami-Dade jail, where he was being held on $22,500 bond Wednesday, records showed. Attorney information wasn’t available.

“These allegations are disturbing and understandably upsetting; we will fully cooperate with partner law enforcement agencies in the investigation of this case,” Miami-Dade County Public Schools officials said in a statement. “Miami-Dade County Public Schools is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for students, faculty and staff. The District has initiated employment termination proceedings and he will be precluded from seeking future employment with this District.”