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Prosecutor argues former trainer is a hazard to kids

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The previous Fort Mill Excessive College trainer charged in a 2016 baby pornography case is a hazard to kids and society, federal prosecutors mentioned.

Eric Michael Hartley, 36, of York County resigned from the highschool Feb. 28 after federal brokers charged him with conspiracy to distribute baby pornography.

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Federal prosecutors mentioned in courtroom in Charlotte Tuesday that in 2016, earlier than Hartley was a trainer in Fort Mill however whereas a trainer in Georgetown County, South Carolina, Hartley despatched and traded textual content messages containing baby porn with a person in Virginia. Hartley additionally despatched textual content messages saying he had fantasies about kids, mentioned Assistant U.S. Legal professional Fred De La Rosa.

Hartley used an app known as “Kik” prosecutors mentioned.

Hartley mentioned in these textual content messages he wished the expertise he noticed within the baby porn photographs, De La Rosa mentioned.

“It’s powerful working round these younger boys,” Hartley mentioned in a textual content message, based on De La Rosa.

There was no proof introduced that Hartley acted on his fantasies or touched any kids at any faculty, based on testimony in courtroom Tuesday.

Fort Mill Excessive College is inside Fort Mill city limits, about 5 miles south of the North Carolina state line. Georgetown County is south of Myrtle Seashore alongside the South Carolina coast.

Hartley was looking for to be launched on bail Tuesday in courtroom. Testimony confirmed Hartley moved to Fort Mill in 2018. He began instructing at Fort Mill Excessive in fall 2018, faculty officers confirmed.

De La Rosa mentioned in courtroom that Hartley clearly had wishes of kids who had been across the identical age as the youngsters he was instructing. De La Rosa argued that Hartley ought to stay jailed pending trial in Virginia the place the second man concerned within the buying and selling of kid porn was additionally arrested Thursday.

“He (Hartley) could also be a hazard to kids if he’s launched on bond,” De La Rosa instructed Federal Justice of the Peace Choose David Keesler. “He’s a hazard to society and kids. He was a trainer…He was uncovered to kids.”

De La Rosa known as it deeply troubling to prosecutors that Hartley was partaking in baby porn buying and selling and fantasies whereas instructing kids.

Hartley additionally could also be a hazard to himself and expressed as a lot to federal brokers after he was arrested, De La Rosa mentioned.

Hartley didn’t converse in courtroom however cried throughout elements of the listening to because the accusations in opposition to him had been made. A lot of his members of the family had been in courtroom, together with some who cried as prosecutors outlined the fees.

Hartley had no earlier disciplinary document at Fort Mill faculties and had handed a state and federal background examine earlier than being employed, mentioned Fort Mill College District spokesperson Joe Burke.

Hartley taught a enterprise class used for obligatory South Carolina pc credit score.

District Superintendent Chuck Epps mentioned faculty officers haven’t been contacted by federal brokers and prosecutors however vowed to cooperate if requested.

Hartley’s attorneys, Jack Swerling of Columbia and William Terpening of Charlotte, mentioned in courtroom that Hartley has no prison historical past earlier than final week’s arrest. The accusations in opposition to Hartley don’t allege there ever was unlawful or inappropriate contact between Hartley and any college students at any faculty, Swerling and Terpening mentioned.

“The fantasies had been by no means acted out,” Terpening mentioned in courtroom.

Swerling mentioned Hartley must be launched on bond pending trial and Hartley could be wiling to examine again in to a psychological well being remedy middle.

“That will fulfill the protection of the neighborhood” Swerling mentioned. “Clearly he’s depressed.”

Hartley admitted himself to a coastal South Carolina hospital then spent a number of days at a psychological well being remedy middle after federal brokers interviewed him at Fort Mill Excessive College in January throughout the investigation when the brokers seized Hartley’s cellphone, Sweling mentioned.

Hartley was on suicide watch via Monday within the Mecklenburg County jail, Swerling mentioned.

Keesler mentioned the federal government has a major case in opposition to Hartley and that some options of the case induced concern.

Keesler denied the bond request.

Hartley will likely be despatched to Virginia to face the kid porn allegations. The cost carries a compulsory minimal of 5 years in jail and as much as 20 years, plus lifetime supervised probation, if convicted.

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