Former Davenport teacher pleads guilty to child pornography

Photo: Beyond Borders

DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - A former Davenport elementary school teacher could be facing 5 - 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to child pornography.

Michael Ross has pleaded guilty in a federal court on Thursday, Dec. 7 to receiving and distributing child pornography.

An affidavit unsealed in June showed Ross used a Dropbox account to collect and send out graphic sexual videos involving minors.

At the time, Dawn Saul with the Davenport Community School District confirmed Ross was on administrative leave. Ross taught 5th grade at Wilson Elementary School. Prior to that, Ross taught at Buchanan Elementary.

On March 27, 2017 agents received a CyberTipline Report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children indicating user "Mike Ross" uploaded a video of child pornography to his Dropbox account on February 7, 2017, at 10:58 a.m. The video uploaded depicted a minor female having sexual intercourse with an adult male.

According to court documents, Dropbox provided information that showed they were being uploaded to his account using several electronic devices including a cell phone, and a laptop with an IP address listing back to Ross' Davenport residence.

On June 19, a valid state search warrant was obtained to search Ross' residence. On June 20 officers executed the warrant. Officials seized Ross' cell phone, laptop, digital camera, camcorder and a thumb drive. Court documents state that during the search, Ross consented to a non-custodial interview with agents and admitted he had an addiction to pornography. He also admitted to knowingly possessing multiple images and videos containing child pornography saying he both received and distributed it.

According to court documents, the cell phone had child pornography and child erotica on it, his laptop had 851 images of children primarily between the ages of 7 and 12, and 196 videos. The earlier creation date for the videos was July 1, 2016, the most recent was January 8, 2017. Officials also found over 12,000 video files located on the hard drive.

Ross signed the plea agreement on Thursday, acknowledging the above.

Court documents show that Ross will face sentencing on April 9th, of 2018. Pleading guilty carried a minimum sentence of five years, a maximum sentence of up to 20 years, a maximum fine of $250,000 and a term of supervised release of not less than five years, up to life.