- Associated Press - Sunday, May 9, 2021

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - A former middle school teacher who had dozens of images of child pornography on his phone now faces up to 20 years in prison.

Ira New III, 56, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to one count of possession of child pornography, federal prosecutors said in a news release. New used to teach eighth grade at Malcolm Bridge Middle School in Watkinsville.

“Possession of child pornography is not a victimless crime. Child victims are manipulated and harmed each time the images are viewed,” Acting U.S. Attorney Peter Leary said in the release.

Yahoo investigators reached out to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in August 2019 after discovering about two dozen images of children at nudist colonies in an account belonging to New.

The GBI discovered he was a middle school teacher and had recently told the school administration that he had displayed an image of a topless female to his class. He resigned from his teaching position and consented to a reprimand regarding his teaching certificate.



When GBI agents arrived at his home in September 2019, New allowed agents to look at his phone, where they found child pornography images. A forensic review of his phone turned up 94 images, including some of girls as young as 12.

When investigators asked when he started becoming interested in children, New said it was in the “past couple of years.” He told investigators he never sent the photos to anyone but had emailed them to himself.

No sentencing date has been set. New faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million.

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