A former teacher at John Adams Elementary School, Justin Coleman, 36, of Falls Church, Va., was sentenced today to 30 years in prison for producing videos of himself engaging in sexually explicit conduct with two unaware prepubescent females.
Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; John P. Torres, Special Agent in Charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Washington, D.C.; Colonel David Rohrer, Fairfax County Chief of Police; and Earl Cook, Alexandria Chief of Police, made the announcement after sentencing by United States District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee.
“Justin Coleman was a lurking, stalking predator who victimized little girls for years around the globe,” said U.S. Attorney 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. 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.”
“Predators like Mr. Coleman tarnish the exceptional work of those who dedicate themselves to teaching our children in school systems throughout the nation,” said ICE HSI SAC Torres. “ICE HSI, along with its other partners in law enforcement, will continue its efforts to identify and arrest those in a position of trust who use their position to take advantage of innocent children.”
“The reprehensible activities of this child predator may have gone undetected had it not been for the exceptional efforts of these detectives, special agents, and prosecutors,” said Chief Rohrer. “Their painstaking follow-up investigation and widespread search for potential victims are a tribute to the Task Force and to law enforcement’s commitment to protecting those least capable of protecting themselves, our children.”
A fourth grade Dual Language Teacher, Coleman pled guilty on Aug. 3, 2011, to two counts of production of child pornography.
According to court documents, Coleman was among 900 individuals in the United States identified by Italian law enforcement as part of an overseas child pornography investigation. During an interview with U.S. law enforcement, Coleman admitted he had viewed child pornography for years, as often as two or three times a week, and preferred images and videos depicting 5- to 12-year-old girls engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
A forensic analysis of digital evidence in this case revealed that Coleman had created at least two videos in which he caused two female minors – who were unaware at the time – to engage in sexually explicit conduct with Coleman. The analysis also found more than 2,500 images of existing child pornography that had been altered by Coleman to depict former, minor female students to appear to be engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Coleman’s collection also included at least 74 videos he had recorded in school classrooms that depicted him masturbating behind an unaware student, attempting to obtain erotic videos of female students by filming up their skirts, down their shirts, and on their buttocks. Coleman titled some of the movie files with the names of students depicted in the videos. Moreover, Coleman collected a horde of child pornography from the Internet. Overall, the analysis found more than 75,000 images of child pornography and child erotica and 1,000 child pornography movies.
The investigation was conducted by ICE HSI, Fairfax County Police Department, and the Alexandria Police Department, with assistance from the Northern Virginia/District of Columbia Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force. Assistant United States Attorney Gerald Smagala and Special Assistant United States Attorney Maureen Cain prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.
This case is part of Operation Gondola, a global effort to take down child predators supported by the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT), an alliance of international law enforcement agencies and private sector partners, working together to combat online child sexual exploitation. The investigation was spearheaded by ICE HSI and Italian law enforcement officials. Italian authorities identified a website containing more than 480 pornographic images of children and ICE HSI seized the website and sent out leads to law enforcement authorities around the world on those accessing the images. To date, there have been 32 criminal arrests, 22 indictments, 6 convictions, 207 seizures around the world as part of Operation Gondola. For more information on the VGT, visit www.virtualglobaltaskforce.com.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.