Former Ashburton Elementary Teacher Pleads Guilty To Possessing Child Porn

Former Ashburton Elementary Teacher Pleads Guilty To Possessing Child Porn

As part of plea agreement, Dartouzos will not receive jail time

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Daemon Alan Dartouzos

Photo via Montgomery County Police

A former Ashburton Elementary School physical education teacher pleaded guilty on Thursday to possessing child pornography but, as part of a plea agreement, he will not face any jail time.

Daemon Alan Dartouzos, 55, of Germantown, was arrested in April and charged with 10 counts of possessing child pornography after a two-year FBI investigation, but Dartouzos agreed to a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty to one count and have the rest dismissed.

The plea agreement, accepted by Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge David Lease, also says Dartouzos will receive no jail time due to “issues” with the FBI investigation. Neither attorneys nor Lease elaborated on what the issues were, but said the FBI chose not to charge Dartouzos with any crimes.

“This is not a standard plea offer for these kinds of charges, but … given the information, the court finds there is good reason to allow it,” Lease said.

Under the plea agreement, Dartouzos faces a maximum penalty of up to five years of probation and a $2,500 fine. He will also be required to register as a sex offender for 15 years. Sentencing is scheduled for late August.

Dartouzos worked for MCPS from 1991 to early 2018. He sponsored multiple Jump Rope for Heart programs at Ashburton, raising money for the American Heart Association, and many students called him “Mr. D,” according to school system documents.

The investigation into Dartouzos began in 2014, when electronic money transfer service Xoom notified web provider Yahoo that several accounts were involved in the sale of child exploitation materials, according to court documents.

The Yahoo team conducted an internal investigation and discovered multiple “Seller” accounts related to facilitating the trafficking of child pornography operating from the Philippines, according to charging documents. This led to the discovery of several “Buyer” accounts known to have purchased images, videos or live streams of child sexual abuse from the seller accounts.

In October 2017, the FBI obtained the information about the seller accounts through a federal search warrant and began reviewing chat correspondences between users, according to charging documents. One “Buyer” account was linked to Dartouzos, and when FBI officials searched his home they found multiple electronic devices with a total of 10 digital files depicting young females performing sexual acts.

In court on Thursday, Dartouzos did not address the court except to give “yes” or “no” answers to the judge. He agreed to forfeit all electronic devices seized during the FBI and local investigation.

Montgomery County police have said that no MCPS students were in the images found on the devices.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com

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