Crime

Man charged with making child porn worked 3 child care jobs in Bellingham

A man worked three child care jobs in Bellingham — at the downtown YMCA, an elementary school, and a day care on Alabama Street — before federal authorities charged him with making child pornography in San Antonio, Texas.

Bellingham police have taken no reports alleging Nicholas Andreas Gonzales-Malven sexually abused children when he lived here, said Lt. Bob Vander Yacht. He worked and studied here for at least seven years, earning his associate’s degree at Whatcom Community College.

Sometime in the past few months Gonzales-Malven, 29, moved back to his home state of Texas for a job at La Petite Academy, a day care in San Antonio.

An investigation this summer by the FBI revealed he shared a series of photos of himself in the act of sexually abusing a boy under his care at work, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Western Texas.

The boy was 4 years old.

Gonzales-Malven was arrested in late July and charged with production of child pornography. Court records show he waived his right to a detention hearing Wednesday, Aug. 10, and he’s being held with bond.

On his resumé, Gonzales-Malven claims he worked “one on one” with Bellingham kids who exhibited special needs at the Kids Korner Learning Center from January 2009 to December 2010; and that he mentored children in a “one on one environment” in a work-study job at Roosevelt Elementary School from October 2012 to March 2013 in the Roosevelt neighborhood.

This week the school district and day care confirmed Gonzales-Malven held jobs as a classroom assistant. They questioned, however, how much time he spent alone with kids. At the elementary school work-study, students are supervised when they are with children, said school district spokeswoman Tanya Rowe.

And at Kids Korner, 1903 Alabama St., teaching assistants work in a large classroom with four or five other staff members at a time, said Director Dawne Sheppard.

Gonzales-Malven passed background checks, she added, and no staff or parents ever complained about him.

In fact, Bellingham police noted he’d been contacted by officers six times in six years — as a victim or a witness — and never once was he listed as a suspect of any crime.

His most recent job in Bellingham was as an assistant pre-kindergarten teacher at the Whatcom Family YMCA, from January 2014 to December 2015. He left the job of his own free will, and no one reported inappropriate behavior with children during or after his employment, according to a letter released to The Bellingham Herald by the organization.

Last month, Gonzales-Malven told an FBI agent he’d been receiving, sending, and viewing child pornography for about five years, according to the federal complaint. He’s accused of sending pictures of the alleged sexual abuse to a man he met through Grindr, a gay dating and hookup app.

Anyone who wants to make a local report can contact the Bellingham Police Department at 360-778-8800. Or visit cob.org/tips.

The location of the school was corrected Aug. 12, 2016.

Caleb Hutton: 360-715-2276, @bhamcaleb

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