The victim was allegedly unaware that Byrd was recording her. A witness reportedly said they saw a red square on the phone and told two Bixby Police Department school resource officers about the inappropriate recording.
Shortly after the incident, Byrd was left unattended in a school office with his phone until law enforcement could come and interview him, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Byrd reportedly admitted that while left alone, he deleted some photographs and videos so that they were unrecoverable.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Byrd pleaded guilty to attempted receipt of child pornography, video voyeurism, and obstruction of justice by corruptly destroying records, documents, or other objects.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, between Aug. 1, 2019 and Aug. 25, 2020, Byrd admitted that he recorded and received images and videos of the victim and other students’ pubic areas without their consent, and he intentionally destroyed evidence on his phone.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, on Thursday Dec. 16, 2021, the victim addressed the court and defendant and said Byrd "did not have to physically touch me to hurt me… I was raised my entire life thinking school was a safe place where I could grow and prosper. He took away my love for school and my trust for people of higher authority."
She also told the court that she felt alone and had to deal with "hurtful comments and speculation on social media shortly after Byrd was arrested," the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson said in a statement, "Jason Byrd’s despicable crimes violated the trust of the Bixby community and the students he served. Two young people are to be commended for their roles in helping to bring this defendant to justice — the young man who saw and reported the crime and the identified victim who bravely spoke at today’s sentencing. I am proud of their courage. They, along with law enforcement and federal prosecutor Chris Nassar, stopped Byrd from continuing his predatory acts against countless students at Bixby High."
Byrd was formally sentenced to 60 months in federal prison followed by 15 years of supervised release. Byrd must pay a $5,000 special assessment that will go to a victim assistance fund for child pornography and human trafficking victims. Additionally, he was ordered to pay restitution to the victim.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Byrd’s crimes were committed on the Muscogee Nation reservation. Byrd is a Cherokee Nation citizen and started teaching at Bixby High School in 2008.