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Former band director held on $150,000 bond



A former band director at Dahlstrom Middle School arrested for possession of child pornography and invasive video recording told investigators he was “embarassed” about images found on his computer and cell phone, saying it was a “huge drunken mistake.”

However, according to the affidavit of probable cause for his arrest, 30-year-old Tyler Townsend also told investigators he used a special video app on his cell phone to record images up the skirts of young girls in the band hall and elsewhere.

Townsend remained in Hays County Jail on Friday charged with 10 counts of each offense. Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Beth Smith, who drew up the 20 warrants, said that possession of child pornography is a third degree felony and invasive visual recording is a state jail felony. He is being held on bonds totaling 150,000.

According to the affidavit submitted by Kyle Police Detective Perry Field,Townsend came to the attention of authorities through a CyberTip line associated with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Attached to the report was an image of nude prepubescent girls. Google had alerted NCMEC of the image and the name, mobile phone number and email address of the person who uploaded the image, identified as Tyler Townsend.

On July 27, a search warrant was executed at Townsend’s home on Dragon Ridge Road in Buda. At that time, Townsend reportedly said he “used to drink excessively and spend a lot o time on the internet,” mentioning that he looked at “stuff he probably should not have been looking at.” Under more questioning, Townsend reportedly mentioned “inappropriate pictures,” insisting he did not intentionally view any images of children younger than 18.

Townsend also said he had not shared the images with anyone because he was embarassed, and that he had tried to create a new Gmail account because the one he had used to download the image had been flagged due to the “bad images.”

Field questioned Townsend about how he acquired the images through a Bing search and that “in the moment I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong because nothing was stopping me. It was just there.”

Illegal images were found on two laptops and an iPhone belonging to Townsend.

The iPhone yielded 230 images, some duplicates, “appeard to have been taken clandestinely.” They consisted of “photographs taken beneath the skirts of young girls as well as images of their backsides: and that a large number of the girls “appeared to be in their early teens.”

Locations included the band hall, private band practice roomsthe 

Dahlstrom track and field area as well as at Hays High School and Schlitterbahn in New Braunfels.

Townsend reportedly said he “tried not to take videos of students he knew,” although some were able to be identified.

When asked how he took the videos, the affidavid says “Tyler advised he downloaded an app on his cellular hone which would black out the screen when using the camera … he would then just kneel down to tie his shoe, set something down, drop his phone or otherwise find a way.” He said none of the girls were aware of his actions. 

He had reportedly been acquiring the images since 2017.

Townsend was placed on administrative leave by the Hays CISD on July 27 when the district was notified by police of the investigation, and he resigned his position on July 31. He had been employed by the district since 2015 and at the time of the investigation, his duties included directing symphonic and jazz bands and the percussion program.