October 28, 2011 / 2:51 PM / 6 years ago

Virginia ex-teacher sentenced to 30 years for child porn

ALEXANDRIA, Va (Reuters) - A former Virginia elementary school teacher was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison on Friday for creating two pornographic videos with underage girls.

Justin Coleman, 36, made the videos showing him sexually abusing two underage girls as part of a secret life that included clandestinely filming students and electronically transferring the faces of former students onto child pornography, federal law enforcement officials said.

He was sentenced to 30 years on each of two counts of producing child pornography. The sentences will run concurrently.

“Mr. Coleman, you are a bad seed. You are a danger and a predator,” U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee said in sentencing him.

Coleman, a former fourth-grade dual language teacher at Alexandria’s John Adams Elementary school, was arrested in April. He pleaded guilty in August.

His voice trembling slightly, Coleman told Lee he was dedicated to repairing the damage he had caused and had been living in a “veritable sea of shame and guilt” for a year.

“I am here because I betrayed the trust of many,” said Coleman, dressed in dark green jail overalls. He listened to sentencing arguments with head bowed.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jerry Smagala said Coleman had engaged in child pornography while he taught at a U.S. military school in Japan. He also had filmed underage girls at a school during a trip to Italy, Smagala said.

Coleman’s argument that he had been under stress from a breakup with his girlfriend and the death of a sister did not excuse him, Smagala said.

Federal officials have said Coleman possessed more than 2,500 images of child pornography that he had altered to depict former, minor female students to appear to be engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

Coleman’s collection included at least 74 videos he had recorded at classrooms that showed him masturbating behind an unaware student and attempting to obtain erotic videos of female students.

Coleman was among 900 people in the United States identified by Italian authorities as part of an overseas child pornography investigation.

Under federal guidelines, he could be eligible for release after 85 percent of his sentence is completed.

Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Jerry Norton

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