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Child Exploitation
06/04/2009

Former Springfield high school teacher pleads guilty to child pornography

DAYTON, Ohio - William Armstrong, 56, of Springfield, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court here to one count of possession of child pornography for having approximately 412 images on his personal computer depicting children under the age of 18 engaged in sexually explicit conduct. He faces a possible sentence of 10 years imprisonment and will be under court supervision for at least five years after he serves any prison time.

In April 2008, federal agents and local police officers searched Armstrong's home, where they found a computer and storage media containing approximately 412 images of child pornography. Armstrong, who at the time was a teacher at Springfield North High School, had purchased the images over the Internet from websites known to sell memberships that allowed members to browse and download sexually explicit images of children.

The guilty plea was jointly announced by Gregory G. Lockhart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Brian Moskowitz, special agent-in-charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Office of Investigations in Detroit. Armstrong entered his guilty plea today before U.S.District Judge Walter H. Rice.

"This case is particularly troubling because of the defendant's position of trust with young people, but it underscores ICE's commitment to working with our law enforcement partners to search out predators who sexually exploit innocent children," said Brian Moskowitz, special agent in charge of the ICE office of investigations in Detroit. "Some predators mistakenly believe the anonymity of cyberspace shields them from scrutiny; in fact, their use of computers and the Internet have given us new tools in our enforcement efforts to protect children."

"All the images depicted children who were younger than high school age," Lockhart said. "People who purchase child pornography create a market for those who sexually exploit children for commercial purposes."

Agents arrested Armstrong after a grand jury indicted him in March 2009 following a forensic examination of the computer and storage equipment seized from his house. He was placed on house arrest with electronic monitoring and prohibited from owning or using a computer, or having contact with anyone under age 18.

Judge Rice will set a date for Armstrong's sentencing.

This case was investigated under Operation Predator, which is a nationwide ICE initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders, and child sex traffickers. Since Operation Predator was launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 11,000 individuals.

ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.