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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 29, 2019

Tallahassee Music Teacher Sentenced to 240 Months in Prison for Enticing a Minor and Child Pornography Offenses

TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Nicholas Hughes, 34, of Tallahassee, was sentenced to 240 months in prison today for enticement of a minor, production, and possession of child pornography, after being convicted on January 4 following a two-day trial.  Lawrence Keefe, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, announced the sentence.

During the 2016-2017 school year, the mother of a 13-year-old student reported that her child had told her about various sexual encounters with Hughes, a music teacher at Coast Charter School in St. Marks, Florida.  Hughes and the victim communicated through in-person visits, telephone calls, text messages, and social media applications, including sending pornographic pictures.  A forensic review of Hughes’s laptop computer and external hard drive revealed dozens of images and videos of child pornography.

U.S. Attorney Keefe said: “Children see their teachers as role models and mentors, and in this tragic case, the defendant took advantage of that trust.  Together with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, we will pursue child predators and bring them to justice.”

“This predator was in a position of trust and abused that trust in the worst way possible,” said HSI Tampa Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero.  “All child exploitation is reprehensible, but this case is even more egregious having been committed by someone trusted by children and parents.”

FDLE Tallahassee Regional Operations Center Special Agent in Charge Mark Perez said: “Florida’s families should be able to feel confident that their children are safe at school.  The violation of that trust here is despicable and has no place in our community.”

The case was investigated by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Homeland Security Investigations, the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, and other members of the North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michelle Daffin and Christopher Thielemann.

The United States Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General.  To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website.  For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.

Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Contact: 
Amy Alexander, Public Information Officer amy.alexander@usdoj.gov
Updated March 29, 2019