Former high school teacher & coach sentenced to six years on child porn charge

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A former high school teacher and coach will spend the next six years in federal prison after a guilty plea to child porn charges.

John Sweeney of Jacksonville was an English teacher at Southwest High School when he was arrested in 2013. He was also a girls and boys soccer coach.

The feds say in March 2013, Sweeney was engaged in explicit online conversations with a 12-year-old, asking for sexually explicit pictures. Agents assumed the identity of the victim and continued communicating with the man through September 2013.

Authorities searched Sweeney's home and the school where they learned he used approximately 50 email accounts and fake profiles on chat sites. They also discovered underage nude images on his phone, as well as nude images of the 12-year-old victim on his computer.

In addition to the six years in prison, Sweeney is fined $10,000, be required to register as a sex offender, and be on supervised release for 15 years once he gets out of prison.

He was sentenced in Raleigh by U.S. District Judge Earl Britt.

When he was arrested, Sweeney resigned his position with the school system.


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A teacher in Onslow County is now charged with solicitation of a child by a computer or other electronic device.

Police say 36-year-old John Tobias Sweeney of Jacksonville was a teacher at Southwest Onslow High School.

School officials say Sweeney had been with the school system for 14 years. He had been teaching English at Southwest High School since 2006, where he was also the soccer coach. Prior to that, he taught at New Bridge Middle School.

School officials also report Sweeney resigned his position effective immediately.

The sheriff's office reports the child was 13 years old and lives out of state.

He was locked up under a $10,000 secured bond.

The Onslow County Sheriff's Office was assisted by the FBI.

Officials say Sweeney was arrested at his home without incident early Thursday morning.

His first court appearance was scheduled for Friday.


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