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Ex-Teacher Gets 15 Years In Child Porn Case Involving Students

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Gregory Austin (Booking photo)

Gregory Austin (Booking photo)

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DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - A former Macomb County band instructor and classroom teacher who was charged in a federal child pornography case has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Gregory Austin, a 33-year-old Chesterfield Township resident, received the punishment Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit. He earlier pleaded guilty to charges including production of child pornography, receipt of child pornography, and possession of child pornography.

In a statement, Austin apologized for “any humiliation” he caused his family, friends and the school district. He didn’t mention the children involved.

“During the last year and a half, I’ve had time to think about what went on,” Austin said. “I need help for the addiction I have. Hopefully, I’ll better myself and hopefully get the help I need.”

Austin was a band instructor in the Fraser School District in 2005 and became a classroom teacher in 2006. Austin was fired from his job with Fraser Public Schools in March 2012 after being arrested during a drug transaction in the parking lot of an elementary school where his wife was employed as a teacher. It was after this arrest that investigators found the inappropriate images on Austin’s phone.

According to court records, Austin created a phony online profile which he posed as an attractive young woman named ”Julie” in order to trick teenage boys into sending him explicit photos of themselves.

“Under the pretense of being Julie, (Austin) convinced numerous minor boys, including former students, to photograph their genital and pubic areas and send the images to ‘Julie.’ He used his cellular phone to communicate with the minors through Facebook and text messages,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Roth wrote in court papers.

Investigators say Austin had images of children ages 14 to 17 on his cell phone. Prosecutors say 12 people seen in images on Austin’s phone were underage students currently enrolled within the Fraser School District.

Police say they also found more than 130 pictures on Austin’s home computer, many featuring teenagers having sex, as well as inappropriate non-pornographic images of suspected minors, both male and female. Police say they also found text messages that were sexual in nature that appeared to involve minors, and two pornographic videos, one featuring a minor.

Austin earlier had challenged evidence obtained by police and filed a motion to suppress it in the case. Federal Judge Arthur Tarnow denied the motion.

Throughout the trial, Austin was supported by his wife of eight years, Jamie, although she filed for divorce in May, The Macomb Daily reported.

TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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