A former substitute teacher and basketball coach in Maryland pleaded guilty Friday to child pornography and sex abuse charges.
Christopher Speights, 35, has been charged with child sex abuse and possession and distribution of child pornography and faces between 30 and 40 years in prison.
Speights coached basketball at Bradbury Heights Elementary School in Capitol Heights, Md., for about nine years, as well as a traveling basketball team, according to Washington, D.C.’s WTOP.
According to prosecutors, the case involves as many as 59 minors. Speights is accused of not only physically abusing children but also coercing them to take images for his use of other minors performing explicit acts, prosecutors said per the Washington Post.
Authorities detailed how Speights secretly recorded boys on a road trip and posed as a teenage girl on social media to solicit and blackmail children for additional explicit images.
“Mr. Speights did what most predators do,” said Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela D. Alsobrooks, per the Post. Through substitute teaching, coaching and volunteering, “he availed himself at every opportunity . . . to be around children.”
According to the Post, Speights worked as a substitute teacher at Bradbury Heights Elementary School and John Eager Howard Elementary School for 13 years. He coached sports at Bradbury Heights and for the South County Steelers through the South County Sports Academy in 2015 and 2016.
“When Speights took these kids to different field trips and different events, while they were sleeping or in other compromised positions, he did photograph their genitalia and photographed them while they were showering,” Assistant Attorney General Kelly A. Burrell said, per the Post.
Speights pleaded guilty Friday to child sex abuse and three child pornography charges including distribution, possession and photographing. The Post reports that the plea in state court comes after Speights pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of production of child pornography and one count of attempted production of child pornography in U.S. district court in Maryland.
Prosecutors say Speights was arrested in 2017 after Maryland State Police received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about “sexually exploitative images” involving minors on his Dropbox account.
Speights is expected to be sentenced in federal court in July.