Riverdale High teacher accused of recording female students as they undressed

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Disturbing new details about a high school band teacher now facing federal charges for recording female students undressing while they tried on band uniforms.

Steven Montes was re-arrested and is now in federal custody. According to a criminal complaint, he has admitted to having a lifelong problem.

At this point, Montes is facing three counts of producing child pornography. The mandatory minimum punishment is 15 years in prison. What he confessed to detectives has only added to his problems.

Court documents show Steven Montes was up front with detectives when they questioned him in the principal's office about what they found on his laptop computer.

He said he was taking videos for his own sexual pleasure and was secretly filming students for a long time in hopes of catching the students fully naked.

ABC 30 Legal Analyst Tony Capozzi says his instructions to the female students made the crimes more aggravating.

"The mere fact that he tells them to take all of their clothes off clearly makes this much worse than it actually could've been," said Capozzi. "Because he is telling them to do something to provide sexual gratification to himself, that is seeing a naked young woman."

Earlier this month, a choir teacher at Riverdale High was the first person to confront Montes. Montes grabbed the computer away from the teacher, and said he was recording for security purposes.

The criminal complaint reveals the 17-year-old female victim discovered the crime as she changed clothes in a storage closet. She heard a fan running and then she noticed a green light from a shelf in the closet.

During police questioning Montes also admitted to taking explicit videos of his wife's 15-year-old cousin at their home when she would visit them.

The resident agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations says statements Montes made during the investigation, have led him to believe there could be many more victims.

Mike Prado explained, "The concern on our part is during the investigation it was learned that this has been a lifelong problem for Mr. Montes. So anytime, you hear that from an investigative perspective, you are concerned."

Investigators have notified Visalia police and administrators in Visalia where Montes lived and previously taught.

In addition to the criminal allegations, Capozzi says there's a civil liability that should not be overlooked.

"The real issue here is what's the liability of the school district having this person working there and not knowing what is going on," said Capozzi. "He's setting up a camera in a storage room and having these people videotaped."

Montes has hired an attorney, ABC30 talked to him late Thursday afternoon and he said he is questioning why these are federal charges and not state. Federal investigators said they rose to a level to warrant three federal counts.

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