LONG BRANCH and SUMMIT, NJ -  Two New Jersey teachers have been arrested recently in separate, unrelated crimes involving children. One teacher is from Long Branch and was arrested for sexual assault involving a 10 year old. The other is an elementary school teacher in Summit who has been charged with producing and disseminating child pornography. He is also a youth soccer coach and featured on statewide virtual education productions. The horrific cases against the two teachers are unrelated.

Gustavo Barrientos, 53, of Tinton Falls, is charged with first degree Aggravated Sexual
Assault and second degree Endangering the Welfare of a Child.   Through the investigation, law
enforcement learned that while employed as an elementary school teacher in the Long Branch
School District, on multiple occasions, Barrientos would show a 10 year old female student
pornography and sexually assault her.   

The investigation was the product of a joint investigation by members of the Long
Branch Police Department and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victim’s
Bureau.  According to the Monmouth County Prosecutors Office, Barrientos was taken into custody on February 14, 2021, and transported to the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in Freehold Township pending a detention hearing.  

Sign Up for Holmdel & Colts Neck Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

If convicted, Barrientos is facing up to life imprisonment on the aggravated sexual
assault charge and up to 10 years imprisonment on the Endangering the Welfare of a Child
charge.  In addition, he would be subject to Parole Supervision for Life and required to register
under Megan’s Law. 

Investigators are seeking additional information about Barrientos’ activities.  Anyone
with any information please contact Detective Todd Coleman of the Long Branch Police
Department at 732-222-1000 or Detective Sergeant Shawn Murphy of the Monmouth County
Prosecutor’s Office Special Victim’s Bureau at 732-431-7160 ext. 7032.

In Summit, a Summit Public School District Employee was arrested on child pornography charges.

In a public statement issued to parents of Summit Public School students, Superintendent of Schools Scott Hough has disclosed that a Summit Public School District employee has been arrested by the FBI on a child pornography charge. As first reported in The Morris Daily Voice, the individual is Steven Brooks, 34, a Fifth Grade teacher at Washington Elementary School. Brooks was featured on a remote learning video  called Math with Mr. Brooks.

According to reporting by The Morris Daily Voice, the complaint cites several incidents of boys sending Brooks videos that included masturbation, their faces and penises clearly visible. It also cites a file of 37 images from the same boy, including some selfies taken in front of a bathroom mirror. Another video of two minors having intercourse on a bed runs for nearly 35 minutes, the FBI complaint says.

Brooks is featured in a remote-learning episode, "Math With Mr. Brooks," created by NJTV in partnership with the NJEA and the NJ Department of Education and posted last April. The one-hour live classes taught by New Jersey public schoolteachers were created for grades 3-6. 

Update: NJTV has removed the episode in which he is featured as part of the network’s NJTV Learning Live series both online and on-air, according to a representative.

The document sent by Hough, which was subsequently obtained by TAPinto Summit from a third party, states:

"It has been reported to the Board of Education that a District employee was arrested this morning by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on a charge of child pornography. The incident is unrelated to the staff member’s employment with the Board. We have been advised by the FBI that incidents surrounding the allegations did not occur on school property or involve our students. We have been informed that the investigation is in preliminary stages and we have not received any information to suggest that any of the allegations have impacted any of our students. The employee was immediately placed on administrative leave. As this is a personnel matter, we are unable to, under the law, share further information. 

Our District’s hiring practices are in accordance with State law and District policy. All employees undergo extensive background checks including fingerprinting before their employment. There was no criminal history present in this employee’s comprehensive background check. 

The safety of your children and our students is absolutely paramount to our entire school community and we are appreciative to the FBI for immediately and proactively communicating this information to us. To the extent we are able, all school employees have been apprised of the situation. 

If needed, our guidance counselors are available to all of our students and families. To the extent that we are able, we will share any new information that becomes available and known to us."

According to a news release issued by the U.S. Attorney, District of New Jersey:

"Steven Brooks, 34, of Morristown, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with one count of production of child pornography, one count of possession of child pornography and one count of mailing child pornography."

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

In January 2021, law enforcement officers were notified about possible child pornography on an external hard drive belonging to Brooks. Law enforcement officers conducted a legally authorized search of Brooks’ external hard drive. The investigation revealed that Brooks used a fake online persona on a social media account to solicit nude photos and videos from teenage victims. A video file on Brooks’s external hard drive showed the fake online persona that Brooks created using a social media platform to communicate with a minor and to solicit the minor to send a video that depicted the minor masturbating. There were dozens of other images of child sexual abuse.

The production of child pornography charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in prison. The possession of child pornography charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The mailing of child pornography charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison. Each charge also includes a maximum fine of $250,000."

These criminal charges are accusations. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.