Substitute teacher arrested 1 year after Baytown mom reported him for sending explicit video to teen

Monday, October 9, 2023
Substitute teacher arrested 1 year after mom reported him to district
ABC13 spotted the 25-year-old on his way into court on Monday. He used a jacket to cover up his face and try to hide from the cameras. He's out of jail on a $40,000 bond.

BAYTOWN, Texas (KTRK) -- A former Goose Creek CISD substitute teacher charged more than a year after a Baytown mother reported him for allegedly preying on her teenage daughter appeared in court on Monday morning.

Joshua Hockless, 25, is charged with online solicitation of a minor. He was released from jail on a $40,000 bond. Under his bond conditions, he has to have a monitoring program on all of his electronic devices.

ABC13 spotted Hockless on his way into court on Monday. He used a jacket to cover up his face and try to hide from the cameras.

Because the judge had a family emergency, the case was reset. The prosecutor said they have filed a motion for sufficient bail.

"He was untouchable. That's what he thought," the victim's mother told ABC13.

ABC13 is not identifying the victim or her mother for their protection.

It took months for police to take action, the victim's mother said, and it was only after ABC13 started asking questions.

Hockless allegedly met the victim while substitute teaching at Goose Creek CISD's Edward Franklin "E.F." Green Junior School. He allegedly followed the teenager on Instagram in September of 2022.

The teenage girl alerted her mother after Hockless allegedly sent a video of himself standing in front of a mirror completely naked. He also allegedly asked the victim for pictures in return.

According to charging documents, other teachers also complained about Hockless because some female students were skipping class to hang out in his classroom.

"The way he went about it. 'I can treat you better than your parents. Let me take you shopping.' Like, that is straight grooming. 'I got money. I make good money. Do your parents have cameras? Can I come over?,'" the mother said.

SEE ALSO: Baytown mother credited with a strategy to catch former Goose Creek CISD sub in solicitation case

The Harris County District Attorney's Office credits a 15-year-old's mother for hatching a plan to catch a teacher accused of preying on the girl.

From there, the girl and her mom strategically decided to continue communicating with Hockless -- without sending any explicit photos back -- to build up proof about what was going on and report it to Baytown police.

"Nothing happened. Months went by. I contacted other agencies. I had to go to the school, police department. I ended up contacting the news," the mother said.

It took months for police to take action, the mother said, and it was only after ABC13 started asking questions.

ORIGINAL REPORT: Teacher, whose dad is a Baytown PD officer, under investigation for nude photos sent to student

Only ABC13 is speaking with a ninth grader who said a past substitute teacher preyed on her with graphic photos of himself.

The mother was concerned the delay may have been, in part, because the suspect's father was a Baytown police officer.

The department denied there was any conflict of interest, and the suspect's father was kept away from the investigation.

The mother told ABC13 the case was later transferred to Harris County High Tech Crimes.

"She ended up going to forensics and they did interviews with her there and led us to the charges that he has now," the mom said.

In court on Monday, the prosecutor said the victim and mother's trusting relationship made all the difference in this case. He had a message to other parents.

"I would say that obviously, the type of rapport and relationship this mother and daughter had is why she was comfortable going to her mother. Granted, that doesn't happen all the time," Assistant District Attorney Dak Choen said. "So what I would say in that scenario, to the parents out there, there is nothing wrong, if you have a bad gut feeling, of going through your child's devices. Because as we've seen in other cases, this could have escalated."

The victim's mother is frustrated with Baytown police and Pasadena ISD, which hired the teacher after the investigation was launched.

Pasadena ISD said it was ABC13 who notified them of the allegations, and Hockless was later let go.

Hockless is now facing a third-degree felony for his alleged crimes. If he's found guilty, he could serve between two and 10 years in prison.

The victim's mother says she wanted to make sure he wouldn't do this to any other young women.

"There's a protective order for my child but, I guess once I know that he is a registered person and he don't get around any more little girls, then I will be OK," the mom said.

Hockless does not have a prior criminal history.

ABC13 asked Choen if he was aware of any other victims. He said at this point, the DA's office does not believe there are any.