A Loudoun County prosecutor said yesterday that a teacher who invited a 15-year-old girl to his house so that he might take photographs of her in the nude has pleaded guilty to causing or encouraging a minor to commit immoral acts.
Reginold A. James, 28, an industrial arts teacher at Sterling Middle School, was given a 12-month suspended jail sentence, according to Loudoun County Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Jack T. Sutor Jr. The prosecutor said James is not allowed to have any contact with the girl and has resigned his teaching position.
"He surprised her in a public place where she did not expect to meet him," Sutor said. "He asked if she would come to his house and take off her clothing so he could take pictures of her." Sutor said James did not touch the girl.
James, reached by telephone yesterday, said he had no comment on the case.
Sutor said that when the girl, who was not one of James' students, heard what he was saying, she immediately went home and told her parents. That led to a report to the Loudoun County Sheriff's Department, he said.
James was arrested on Sept. 9 on a felony charge of soliciting a child with the intent of inducing the child to be a subject of sexually explicit visual material, Sutor said. He pleaded guilty instead to the misdemeanor charge last Friday in Loudoun County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court in Leesburg, the prosecutor said.
Sutor said James' personnel file will reflect the reason for his resignation.
County School Superintendent Robert E. Butt said yesterday that his office was notified by the authorities that an arrest warrant was outstanding. "It was my feeling that we take immediate steps that he have no further contact with students or school personnel," he said.
James, who had been a teacher at Sterling Middle School for six years, was removed from further contact with students, Butt said. He said James submitted his resignation, and it was accepted.
"What I know officially is that he resigned for personal reasons," said Terrence Hill, the principal at Sterling Middle School in Sterling Park. "What happened had nothing to do with the school . . . . I really have not wanted to get into it."
"I had two kids come up to me and ask me, 'When is Mr. James coming back?' " he said. "Teachers, particularly the ones who worked with him, have come to me and asked me what was going on."
Defense attorney John J. Moorcones had no comment yesterday.
James, who is married and lives in Sterling, could have received a maximum of10 years in prison if convicted on the felony charge, Sutor said.
The prosecutor said the felony charge was reduced because James, who had no prior record, did not touch the girl and she left immediately after his proposal. He added that the lesser charge had the concurrence of the girl and her family.