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Press Release

Former Fayette county teacher sentenced to 15 years in Federal prison for receiving child pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. –  United States Attorney Booth Goodwin announced that Joshua Mark Taylor, 32, of Weirton, West Virginia was sentenced today in federal court in Charleston to 15 years in federal prison to be followed by 20 years of supervised release. Taylor will also be required to register as a sex offender.  Taylor pled guilty in June of 2013, admitting that he received child pornography via his cell phone.

According to court documents and proceedings, Taylor was employed by the Fayette County Board of Education as a school teacher at Collins Middle School from approximately March of 2013 to January of 2014.  Taylor admitted that in November of 2013, he exchanged a large volume of text messages with a 12-year-old female who was a student at Collins Middle School. Taylor also admitted that from about November to January of 2014, he persuaded the student to take photographs of her genital area and send them to him on his cell phone.  Taylor admitted to distributing or attempting to distribute the sexually explicit images through interstate commerce.  Finally, Taylor admitted to receiving a sexually explicit image of the student through interstate commerce.

The investigation was initiated by the West Virginia State Police in January of 2014, after the father of the student reported her missing.  Taylor picked the minor up at her family home and returned her to her home uninjured after missing for nearly 22 hours.  The investigation led to Taylor’s arrest the next day in St. Mary’s, West Virginia.  Prior to being arrested, Taylor sent the minor a text message urging her not to cooperate with the investigation or prosecution.

Taylor also pled guilty in Fayette County Circuit Court to the felony offense of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, custodian or person in position of trust to a child and faces a sentence of not less 10 years and up to 20 years when he is sentenced on Monday, September 28.

United States Attorney Goodwin credited the West Virginia State Police and the other law enforcement agencies that worked so hard on the investigation.  “The collaborative efforts of the West Virginia State Police, West Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Fayette County Sheriff’s Department, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation should be commended.  Their cooperation brought yet another child predator to justice, and made all of our children safer,”  said Goodwin.

Assistant United States Attorney Lisa G. Johnston is in charge of the prosecution.

This case was brought as part of U.S. Attorney Goodwin’s ongoing initiative to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse in the Southern District of West Virginia.

Updated September 23, 2015