64-year-old Michael Gillis, a former teacher out of Jacksonville, Florida, pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography on Thursday.
Gillis previously confessed that he viewed child pornography for the past 15 years. He told authorities he got the images from a file-sharing network.
Per the initial press release followin his arrest, the FBI raided the home of Michael Gillis February 2, 2022. The computer hard drive materials seized by authorities contained videos of underaged children being sexually abused. Some of the subjects in the videos were as young as three years of age.
According to the criminal complaint, Gillis told authorities at his residence during the raid that he knew he "shouldn't do it" and "it's a fantasy."
The former teacher voluntarily unlocked his computer and, together with authorities, viewed several graphic videos from his hard drive. Some Gillis claimed to have downloaded by "accident," and the suspect swore that he never solicited children on social media.
According to the Department of Justice, "at least 2,000 images and 210 videos depicting infants, toddlers, and other young children being sexually abused." Though he was retired from teaching at the time of his arrest, Gillis admitted to viewing these kinds of materials while on the job. Authorities said the suspect admitted that though he had "fantasies" about abusing children, he swore to investigators he never acted on it.
According to News4JAX, Gillis worked for the Duval County Public Schools district from 1991 to 2007. After that he had a job painting houses and commercial spaces before retiring from that line of work.
Gillis faces up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted, and his sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.
Arrests of teachers across the US have made headlines this month including; a Pennsylvania chemistry teacher for "multiple sexual offenses against a child," an Oregon substitute teacher facing an incest charge among other sex crime charges, and a 42-year-old former high school choir teacher in Illinois facing nine counts of sexual contact with a 17-year-old student.
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