Former Middle School Teacher Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Purchase Live Video Sex Shows Involving Filipino Children
BOSTON – A former Southbridge Middle School teacher pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Worcester in connection with attempting to purchase live video sex shows involving Filipino children and to possessing child pornography.
Scott Peeler, 54, who previously resided in Worcester, pleaded guilty to three counts of attempting to entice a minor to engage in unlawful sexual conduct and one count of possession of child pornography. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Hillman scheduled sentencing for Feb. 28, 2017. Pursuant to a plea agreement, Peeler will be sentenced to a minimum of 10 years and no greater than 15 years in prison. Peeler remains in custody pending sentencing.
Between April 2013 and July 2014, Peeler used internet-based instant messaging services with video streaming capabilities to communicate with individuals in the Philippines engaged in child sex trafficking and the sale of live streaming sex shows involving children. Peeler admitted to attempting on at least three occasions to arrange the purchase of live video sex shows involving children who ranged in age from four years old to fourteen years old.
At the time of his arrest in June 2015, Peeler admitted that he was the user of the email and instant messaging account that had been used to solicit the streaming videos, but claimed that he had never actually purchased any videos. A preliminary forensic review revealed the presence of child pornography on Peeler’s computer.
The charge of attempting to entice a minor to engage in unlawful sexual conduct provides for a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and up to a lifetime in prison, a minimum of five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. The charge of possession of child pornography provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, a minimum of five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Matthew Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr.; Colonel Richard D. McKeon, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; and Worcester Police Chief Steven M. Sargent, made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Grady of Ortiz’s Worcester Branch Office is prosecuting the case.
The case is brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.
Members of the public who have questions, concerns or information regarding this case should call 617-748-3274.