Ex-Alexandria teacher pleads guilty to creating child porn

A former fourth-grade teacher at John Adams Elementary School in Alexandria pleaded guilty Wednesday to two counts of producing child pornography.

Justin Coleman, 35, of Falls Church admitted to videotaping himself in “sexually explicit conduct” with two young girls who were unaware of what they were being told to do, according to his plea in federal court in Alexandria. He also admitted to altering thousands of sexually explicit photos and videos to make it appear that former female students were engaged in the acts, court papers show.

The two girls in the videotapes that Coleman recorded in Virginia were not his students, said Peter Carr, spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Carr declined to say more about those tapes, citing the victims’ privacy. Coleman’s plea agreement states that he had labeled the tapes with the two children’s names.

Coleman faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum penalty of 30 years for each charge when he is sentenced Oct. 28, prosecutors said.

Coleman had taught at the Alexandria school since 2005 and was put on leave in April after his arrest. He was dismissed in June about a week after his indictment, a school district spokesman said Wednesday. On the day federal agents searched Coleman’s home, he was dressed in a Scottish kilt with a pouch for a theme day at school and had an external computer drive containing child pornography in the pouch, according to court papers.

Coleman told investigators that there was a “Justin at home and a Justin at work” and said he feared that “they will mesh together,” court records show.

Coleman was among 900 individuals in the United States identified by Italian law enforcement as part of an overseas child-pornography investigation. Coleman admitted that he had viewed child pornography for years, as often as three times a week, and preferred images and videos depicting 5- to 12-year-old girls engaging in sexually explicit conduct, according to his plea.

Items seized in the investigation revealed more than 2,500 images Coleman had altered and approximately 1,000 child-pornography movies, including the tapes with the two young girls, court records show.

Overall, the analysis found more than 75,000 images of child pornography and child erotica and 1,000 child-pornography movies.

Mary Pat Flaherty works on investigative and long-range stories. Her work has won numerous national awards, including the Pulitzer Prize.
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