ATHENS, Ga. – An Oconee County, Georgia, resident and former eighth grade teacher has pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography.
Ira New, III, 56, of Watkinsville, Georgia, pleaded guilty to one count possession of child pornography before U.S. District Judge C. Ashley Royal on Wednesday, May 5. New faces a maximum twenty years of imprisonment to be followed by at least five years of supervised release and a maximum fine of $1,000,000. A sentencing date has not been scheduled. There is no parole in the federal system.
“Possession of child pornography is not a victimless crime. Child victims are manipulated and harmed each time the images are viewed,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Peter D. Leary. “I want to commend both GBI and Yahoo investigators who teamed up to quickly stop a child predator who, as a teacher, had easy access to children.”
“The GBI will continue to work tirelessly to protect innocent victims. No child should be subject to online exploitation. As we work with internet service providers and other law enforcement agency partners, we are ensuring that predators like this defendant are held accountable,” said GBI Director Vic Reynolds
On August 7, 2019, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) received a cyber tip from Yahoo investigators regarding approximately 27 images of children at nudist colonies. Yahoo determined that the account belonged to New, who was an eighth-grade teacher at the time, and the cyber tip was escalated to the GBI. GBI discovered New taught at Malcolm Bridge Middle School in Watkinsville and had recently self-reported to the school administration for displaying an image of a topless female to his class. Subsequently, New resigned from his teaching position at Oconee County Schools and consented to a Professional Standards Commission sanction of reprimand regarding his teaching certificate.
On September 5, 2019, the GBI conducted a knock and talk at his home. New consented to allow forensic agents to view his phone, and they found it contained child pornography. A supplemental forensic review revealed New’s phone contained approximately 94 images of child pornography, including images of 12 to 14-year-old girls. When asked when he started to take an interest in children, New responded that it had been in the “past couple of years.” New also stated that he never sent the photographs to anyone, but he emailed the photographs to himself.
The case was investigated by the GBI.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Shanelle Booker is prosecuting the case.