The Washington Post

Band director reaches deal on charge of online solicitation of minor

A Fairfax County high school band director was convicted of using a computer to solicit a minor after authorities said he had inappropriate online contact with a detective posing as a 14-year-old boy.

On Tuesday, Michael K. Cook, 43, of Centerville, entered an Alford plea, meaning he did not admit guilt but acknowledged that prosecutors have enough evidence to convict him. Under a deal with prosectors, he could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

Cook was arrested in August following an online sting by Fairfax County police. Authorities said Cook was caught chatting with a detective posing as a 14-year-old boy from his school, Robinson Secondary in Fairfax.

During the eight-day correspondence via e-mail and instant message, Cook wrote that he wanted perform oral sex on the boy and offered to meet him, prosecutors said.

Tom Walsh, Cook’s attorney, said no meetings ever occurred and police never found child pornography at Cook’s home after executing a search warrant. Cook did not have any significant previous offenses.

Cook was in charge of Robinson’s symphonic and marching bands and was elected president of the Virginia Band & Orchestra Directors Association shortly before his arrest.

The Fairfax County school system put Cook on administrative leave following his arrest. School officials could not immediately be reached Tuesday to determine whether Cook was still employed.

A Fairfax County Circuit Court judge is scheduled to sentence Cook on May 4. As part of the deal, prosecutors will waive a mandatory minimum of five years in prison Cook could have faced under the charge.


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