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Church teacher arrested on suspicion of child pornography possession, sexual battery

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A youth leader and teacher at Saratoga and Cupertino churches was arrested last week on suspicion of child pornography possession and sexual battery, the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office reported Monday.

Deputies received a call at 10 a.m. Thursday from the Saratoga Federated Church at 20390 Park Place about three men who came to the church to report sexual abuse by the same man over the last five years. About two hours later, deputies arrested 31-year-old Joseph Silva Jr. of Campbell following a preliminary investigation.

Silva is a youth leader at the Saratoga church and also works as a Mandarin Immersion Program teacher at Cupertino’s West Valley Presbyterian Church.

Deputies said he admitted to sending, requesting and receiving explicit photos of his and others’ genitals through social media. He has been connected to four victims who are currently 19 and 20, but were children at the time of the allegations.

There is also one minor victim between the age of 15 and 17, and two possible child victims, according to deputies.

Silva was booked into Santa Clara County Main Jail on suspicion of possession and distribution of child pornography, lewd acts and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and sexual battery. He was released on $124,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court on July 8. The investigation is ongoing and church officials are working with deputies.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact the sheriff’s office at (408) 808-4500 or the anonymous tip lip at (408) 808-4431.

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