Former John Adams Elementary School teacher Justin Coleman pleaded guilty in federal court to two counts of producing child pornography Wednesday.
He faces a minimum of 30 years in jail and a maximum of 60 for the pair of charges.
Coleman, 35, was a fourth grade dual languages teacher at the West End school when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers raided his Falls Church home in April, following leads from Italian authorities who identified him in a child pornography investigation.
Federal agents arrested Coleman after discovering an external hard drive loaded with child pornography at his home, as well as several pairs of girls underpants. He also had more girls underwear in his pocket when authorities took him into custody April 6.
Some of the undergarments were taken from a backpack stolen from John Adams Elementary, according to court affidavits. Another came from an 11-year-old Russian girl Coleman met in an international program.
Though initially charged with receipt of child pornography, Coleman was later indicted for filming illicit videos featuring young girls. At least two videos featured underage girls engaging in sexual acts with Coleman while unaware of what they were doing, officials said.
Coleman admitted to seeing tens of thousands of explicit photos and videos of children over several years, viewing them as often as two or three times a week, authorities said. He also manipulated photos to include images of former students, said Neil MacBride, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, in a statement.
Federal agents seized electronics containing roughly 2,500 images manipulated by Coleman and about 1,000 videos. All together, he had more than 75,000 images of child pornography and child erotica, according to court documents.
He preferred pornography featuring five- to 12-year-old girls, officials said.
Coleman was barred from Alexandria City Public Schools after his arrest and dismissed from his position in June. The investigation and subsequent indictment shocked the community and outraged parents. Coleman had worked for the district since 2005 and passed all required background checks, school officials said.
Child predators have no place in our school systems, said John Torres, special agent in charge of ICEs Homeland Security Investigations, in a statement following the plea deal. Working with our partners, ICE HSI will continue to identify and arrest individuals who use their positions of public trust to take advantage of the most innocent in our society.
Few details about the investigation leading to Colemans arrest had been released, but federal officials now say the former teacher was one of about 900 individuals in the U.S. with connections to a child pornography website identified by Italian authorities in March, 2010.
ICE worked Fairfax County and Alexandria police on the investigation. The Northern Virginia and District of Columbia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force assisted authorities.
Colemans sentencing is scheduled for October 28 in federal court.