Ex-teacher charged with trying to support Islamic State
WASHINGTON — A former substitute teacher from Texas has been indicted on federal charges alleging he tried to provide material support to the Islamic State, the Justice Department said Friday.
Warren Christopher Clark, 34, appeared in court in Houston on Friday and was ordered held without bail.
Clark was captured recently by the Syrian Democratic Forces and was transferred into the custody of U.S. law enforcement officials this week, the Justice Department said.
He was first identified by researchers George Washington University’s Program on Extremism. Clark had submitted a resume and cover letter to the Islamic State, noting that he had a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston, worked as a substitute teacher at the Fort Bend Independent School District in Sugar Land, Texas, and had done teaching stints in Saudi Arabia and Turkey, according to the documents that were obtained by the researchers.
“Dear Director, I am looking to get a position teaching English to students in the Islamic State,” he wrote in the cover letter. “Teaching has given me the opportunity to work with people from diverse cultural backgrounds and learning capabilities.”
An indictment that was unsealed on Friday charges Clark with attempting to provide himself as material support to the Islamic State but did not offer any additional details.
Clark’s attorney, Michael DeGeurin, said his client would plead not guilty but declined to comment further.
“The FBI continues to aggressively pursue individuals who attempt to join the ranks of ISIS’s foreign fighters or try to provide support for other terrorist organizations. This fight against terrorism is not one we can combat alone,” said Perrye Turner, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s office in Houston.
If convicted, Clark could face up to 20 years in prison. He’s due back in court next week.
Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have been fighting the Islamic State group with the help of the U.S.-led coalition.