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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Alabama

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, July 20, 2017

School System Official and Former Middle School Principal Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison for Child Enticement and Child Pornography

BIRMINGHAM – A federal judge today sentenced former Jefferson County Schools’ human resources director and Hueytown Middle School principal to more than 30 years in prison for enticing a minor to engage in prostitution and possessing child pornography. Acting U.S. Attorney Robert O. Posey, FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge David W. Archey, Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steven D. Anderson and Hueytown Police Chief Chuck Hagler announced the sentence.

U.S. District Court Judge L. Scott Coogler sentenced BRETT WILLIAM KIRKHAM, 41, of Tuscaloosa, to 30 years and five months in prison. Kirkham pleaded guilty to the enticement and child pornography charges in March. Judge Coogler granted Kirkham credit for 13 months of time served since his arrest.

“Sexual predators often abuse a position of trust to meet, exploit and sexually abuse children,” Posey said. “Parents and education professionals should be alert to the possibility of improper relationships developing at school or online.”

According to court documents, Kirkham’s sexual conduct underlying the child enticement spanned years. The victim had been a student of Kirkham’s at Hueytown Middle School. Kirkham began sending the child messages on social media in 2011, where he solicited nude photos and sent pictures of his own genitalia in return, according to Kirkham’s plea agreement. Two years later, after the child turned 16, Kirkham again reached out through social media. He and the child met several times and engaged in sex acts, for which Kirkham paid the child hundreds of dollars, according to the government’s sentencing memorandum.

Among the more than 700 images and nearly 200 videos of child pornography that Kirkham possessed were images of Kirkham’s enticement victim and another of his former students, according to the sentencing memorandum. Other child pornography he possessed involved three children in Mississippi.

The FBI and the Tuscaloosa and Hueytown police departments investigated the case, which Assistant U.S. Attorneys John B. Ward and Jacqueline Hutzell prosecuted.

In an unrelated child exploitation case, former University of Alabama music professor NIKOS PAPPAS, 41, of Tuscaloosa, pleaded guilty today to charges of receiving and possessing child pornography. Pappas entered his plea before Judge Coogler. His sentencing date has not been set.

The penalty for receiving child pornography is five to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The maximum penalty for possessing child pornography is 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations investigated Pappas’ case, which Ward is prosecuting.

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Updated July 20, 2017