A federal judge in Alexandria sentenced former John Adams Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Justin Coleman to 30 years of jail time Friday for producing child pornography.
Coleman, 36, of Falls Church, pleaded guilty to two counts of production of child pornography August 3. The videos featured Coleman engaging in sexually explicit acts with two prepubescent girls, authorities said.
“[Coleman] was a lurking, stalking predator who victimized little girls for years around the globe,” said U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride. “When he was arrested, he told the agents that there was a ‘Justin at home, and a Justin at work’ and that he was afraid they would mesh together. In fact, they had already merged. The seemingly respectable teacher was in reality a predator who produced, collected and consumed child pornography to whet his erotic fantasies.”
Federal agents arrested Coleman on April 6 after an Italian-led investigation into a child pornography website directed authorities to the former teacher, who has taught in Italy and Japan. When they raided his Falls Church home, authorities found several pairs of girls’ underwear hidden behind Coleman’s bed, which he later admitted stealing from a backpack left at the elementary school, and an external hard drive stocked with pornographic images of children.
Coleman admitted downloading images of young girls, usually between 5 and 12 years old, and viewing them two or three times a week. Federal authorities recovered more than 2,500 pornographic images of children altered to depict Coleman’s former students and about 74 videos of him touching himself behind an unaware student in a classroom, as well as attempting to film girls erotically without their knowledge.
In all, authorities uncovered a cache of more than 75,000 images of child pornography and erotica and 1,000 illicit movies. Coleman focused specifically on about two dozen girls from his various teaching locales, including Alexandria, in his pursuits, said Peter Carr, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Virginia’s Eastern District. The court has reached out to the girls’ parents, Carr said.
Coleman was placed on administrative leave after the allegations came to light, though not before the teacher arrived at the West End school for work following the early morning raid. School officials escorted him out of the building after authorities alerted them to the investigation.
When he was arrested later in the day, authorities discovered more girls’ underwear in his pants pockets.
Alexandria City Public Schools cut all ties with Coleman in June, his arrest sending shockwaves through the parenting community. Coleman had joined ACPS in 2005 and cleared all of the required background checks, district officials said.
“Predators like [Coleman] tarnish the exceptional work of those who dedicate themselves to teaching our children in school systems throughout the nation,” said Special Agent John Torres of ICE.
Coleman was one of about 900 individuals in the United States linked to the illicit website by international authorities. His is one of 32 arrests, 22 indictments and six convictions as a result of Operation Gondola, officials said, a global effort against the sexual exploitation of children online.
“Adults who exploit positions of trust to sexually abuse kids are one of our highest priorities, and we will do everything in our power to stop them,” McBride said.