Osceola County substitute teacher, 19, accused of having, sharing child porn

OSCOELA COUNTY, Fla. — A 19-year-old Osceola County substitute teacher is accused of having and sharing child pornography.

The FBI arrested Joshua Merced-Trychta on child pornography charges.

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Since then, he’s been taken off the substitute teacher list and is now under house arrest.

The school district said he started working as a substitute this school year after graduating from Poinciana High last year.

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Investigators said they believe Merced-Trychta was active using the Kik messenger app. Records show he was specifically sharing videos of children as young as 2 and 3 years old being sexually abused by adults, and was also administrator of a messenger group where it was being shared.

Investigators said Merced-Trychta admitted to sharing child sexual abuse materials online for the past five years.

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The district said he worked at seven different Osceola County schools, ranging from elementary to high schools.

Merced-Trychta isn’t the only young substitute to make headlines in the county. In 2019, Syed Yaseen Asher was arrested and accused of molesting young students in Osceola County.

In recent years, there has been difficulty attracting substitute teachers across Central Florida.

READ: Deputies: Ex-substitute teacher molested 9 girls at 3 Osceola County elementary schools

In Osceola County, substitutes have to have a high school diploma or equivalent, be 18 or older and pass a background check.

Right now, out of 632 substitute teachers in Osceola County, 40 of them are age 21 or younger.

The district takes fingerprints for a background check and does drug testing, which Merced-Trychta passed.

Merced-Trychta’s grandfather told Channel 9 he was a good kid growing up and was never in any trouble before this.

Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.