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New charges filed as substitute teacher admits he 'preyed on his own students'

The Cheektowaga substitute teacher and coach accused of exploiting an underage boy in Virginia is facing new charges tied to five more alleged victims.

And prosecutors expect the number to grow "exponentially."

A new grand jury indictment charges Steven Gasiorek, 33, a resident of Sloan, with production of child pornography and enticement of a minor, and accuses him of using Instagram to solicit sexually explicit photos from six underage boys.

"This is just the beginning," Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth R. Moellering said Tuesday. "There will be more victims."

A substitute teacher and baseball coach in the Cheektowaga-Sloan school district, Gasiorek is accused of using social media to impersonate a young girl named Lexi so he could exploit his alleged victims, some of them in Western New York.

The initial complaint against Gasiorek centered around a 14-year-old boy in Virginia, but the new charges expand the prosecution to include five more boys.

Moellering said they were discovered when the FBI conducted a review of Gasiorek's Instagram account for a four-day period.

She noted that investigators believe the defendant's criminal activity may date back more than a decade and that more underage victims are likely to be identified as the investigation unfolds.

"The number of victims in this case is going to grow exponentially," she said.

She also expects some will be former students and athletes from John F. Kennedy Middle School, where Gasiorek was a long-term substitute teacher and baseball coach.

"He has made admissions that he preyed on his own students and players on his own teams," she said Tuesday.

Moellering told U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeremiah J. McCarthy that all six have been interviewed and confirmed their Instagram communication with a teenage girl named Lexi.

"They did not know Lexi was a 33-year-old man," she told McCarthy. "They thought she was a 14-year-old girl."

The investigation into Gasiorek began with a tip that law enforcement in Virginia, where the 14-year-old boy lives, was passed on to Cheektowaga police.

Armed with a search warrant,  FBI agents conducted an examination of Gasiorek's laptop and found photos from three other boys – ages 11, 12 and 13, according to court papers.

At the time of his arrest, Gasiorek, who has pleaded not guilty, was ordered held in home confinement, an order McCarthy continued on Tuesday.

"He's been under house arrest, and he's been fully compliant," defense attorney Justin D. Ginter told McCarthy.

In its initial complaint against Gasiorek, the FBI details one of the Instagram conversations he is alleged to have had with the boy in Virginia.

In one of them, according to agents, the defendant sent the victim a nude photo of a girl and said, "What do you think of me? Send one back. I'll send another."

Agents said the boy eventually sent back a sexually explicit photo of himself.

Anyone with information about Gasiorek's alleged crimes are encouraged to call the FBI's Child Exploitation Task Force tip line at 843-1616.

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