Eric Hartley

A former Fort Mill High School teacher has been sentenced to six years in prison for his efforts to share child porn.

   Eric Michael Hartley, 37, used a smartphone app called Kik to distribute sexually explicit images of young boys and girls to other pedophiles, according to news reports.

   As The Fort Mill Sun reported in February, there was no connection made with his job or the school. He had been working as a computer science teacher at Fort Mill High School at the time of his arrest.

The charge against Hartley required a minimum sentence of five years in prison and up to 20 years. As part of his sentence, Hartley must register as a sex offender, participate in a treatment program, and refrain from having contact with children under 18.

   A lawyer for Hartley, Miriam Airington-Fisher, provided   Newsweek with this statement:

   “We felt strongly that a result at or around the mandatory minimum sentence was appropriate under the circumstances of the case. We are satisfied that the court carefully considered all factors and ordered a fair sentence. Mr. Hartley looks forward to moving forward in a positive way.”

   Authorities say Jeramy Michael Routh, 42, helped create a repository of child pornography that was shared with Hartley and others. Hartley pleaded guilty in June to a single count of conspiracy to distribute child pornography and was just sentenced. The title of one of the Dropbox videos indicates that a female victim may have been as young as five years old.

   Here is Friday’s press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Eastern District of Virginia:

Headline: Former High School Teacher Sentenced to Prison for Child Pornography

   ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A former South Carolina high school teacher was sentenced today to six years in prison and 10 years of supervised release for conspiring to distribute child pornography.

According to court documents, Eric Michael Hartley, 37, of Fort Mill, used various internet applications, including Kik and Dropbox, to send and receive child pornography. One of the individuals with whom Hartley traded child pornography was Jeramy Routh, who pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute child pornography in May. Routh and Hartley discussed trading exploitative images of children, including infants and toddlers, and did in fact exchange images and videos as well as access to cloud based accounts of child pornography.

On September 27, Routh was sentenced to 90 months in prison and 10 years of supervised release.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.