Prosecutors: Fairfax teacher charged with soliciting a child was chatting with officer
By Justin Jouvenal,
A band director with Fairfax County schools charged with soliciting a child online was corresponding with an undercover officer posing as a 14-year-old boy from his school, prosecutors said at a bond hearing Tuesday.
Michael K. Cook, 43, of Centreville, was arrested Aug. 31 after an online police sting. Cook has been placed on administrative leave from Fairfax’s Robinson Secondary School, where he was in charge of the symphonic and marching bands.
Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Katherine E. Stott said in court that Cook was “willing and eager” to meet his online correspondent, who he thought was a teenager, and that Cook wrote that he wanted to perform oral sex on the boy.
Patrick Woolley, an attorney for Scott, said his client was initially unaware of the purported victim’s age and broke off contact once he learned it. He also said that police had not found any child pornography at Cook’s home and that Cook was a “decorated member” of Robinson’s faculty.
“Mr. Cook is not a sick individual. He is not a pedophile. He does not have multiple victims,” Woolley said.
Authorities allege that Cook e-mailed the undercover officer, who was posing as a 14-year-old, on July 21 and asked the officer to send a picture to verify his age, according to an affidavit for a search warrant filed in Fairfax County Circuit Court.
According to the affidavit, Cook allegedly asked to perform a sex act on the boy in a follow-up e-mail and sent the officer a picture of himself.
In a subsequent instant-message exchange, Cook discussed meeting the purported victim at a specific time and location in Fairfax County, authorities wrote in the search warrant. On Tuesday, Stott said Cook had requested a meeting at a store, so he could see the boy before they went off together.
Woolley said Cook has never before had a significant offense and said he was recently elected president of the Virginia Band & Orchestra Directors Association. Woolley said Cook had been a teacher at Robinson for 12 years. Cook also led student tours to western Europe and plays tuba in the Fairfax Wind Symphony, according to a biography posted on a Robinson Band Web site.
A Fairfax County judge set Cook’s bond at $10,000. Cook also cannot have contact with anyone under 18, use the Internet or meet with anyone from Robinson Secondary School.