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Arrested Brevard County teacher was also 10-year Coast Guard veteran, according to investigators

Joseph Michael Komjathy faces 5 counts of transmitting material harmful to a minor
Joseph Michael Komjathy, teacher arrested Indian River County case
Posted at 11:07 AM, Mar 30, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-30 17:10:20-04

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, Fla. — Investigators with the Indian River County Sheriff's Office shared more details Wednesday about the recent arrest of a middle school teacher accused of communicating with an undercover deputy who was posing as a 16-year-old girl.

Joseph Michael Komjathy, 40, was arrested Monday and faces five counts of transmitting material harmful to a minor by electronic equipment and one count of unlawful use of a two-way communication device.

Before his arrest, Komjathy was a seventh-grade science teacher at Stone Magnet Middle School in Melbourne. He has since been let go by Brevard Public Schools.

Indian River County Sgt. Aaron Scranton said Wednesday it was disconcerting to discover that the suspect was not only a teacher but also a former member of the military.

"This particular individual is a double whammy. He was a teacher. I think he was employed for approximately one year, but he was also a 10-year Coast Guard veteran where he worked closely with law enforcement," Scranton said.

Komjathy is being held on a $300,000 bond. He will be arraigned in May.

The sting was part of the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, a unit that investigates and prosecutes offenders who use the internet to sexually exploit children.

WATCH: Indian River Co. sergeant discusses arrest

Indian River Co. sergeant shares arrest details involving Brevard Co. teacher

Scranton said the task force receives cyber tips from social media platforms in reference to uploaded content, which could be child exploitation material.

"This particular individual, after a short time of speaking with him for about three weeks or so, he ended up sending nude images of himself, approximately five of those, each of one of those is a third-degree felony in the state of Florida," Scranton said.

The investigator said the suspect will frequently send naked photos of themselves during these undercover operations.

"Sometimes they are very quick to send nude photos, it's not things we ask for. They send them," Scranton said. "Sometimes they need to build up more of a rapport before they feel comfortable, but I would say nine times out of 10 in these cases they are sending nude photos at some point."

Scranton said they have made several similar arrests in the last six months to a year.

"A lot of the people we end up speaking with, they are in their 30s or 40s, typically they are married, and they have kids," Scranton said.

He added that predators will go anywhere in cyberspace, recalling one case involving the online game Roblox.

"In that game, you chat with people. There was a predator out there posing as a child but was an adult," Scranton said.

The sheriff's office urged parents to build a relationship with their children to avoid online predators.

"Know their passwords, know what apps they have, know what those apps do and who they can reach out to," Scranton said. "Know the games that your kids are using, know what capabilities they have."

Investigators want the public to know that these cases have been around since the internet started and will continue.

"These cases are nothing new. They've been around since AOL dial-up [internet], and they're not going away," Scranton said. "It's important to have these people assigned to the task force to keep moving forward and progressively investigating these cases."

His message to predators is that you can't hide from law enforcement.

"If you're out there, we're going to catch you. A lot of people we end up dealing with say it's their first time. No, it's their first time being caught."