Teacher pleads guilty to molestation


John Walter Hawthorne, 43, was charged with eight counts of child molestation for lewd conduct with a number of students at two elementary schools over hour years, according to District Attorney Dean Flippo.

While teaching at Martin Luther King Elementary School, four kids accused Hawthorne, leading to an investigation. Flippo said more victims were discovered at Virginia Rocca Barton Elementary School, where Hawthorne had previously been employed.

In addition to the molestation charges, Hawthorne pleaded guilty to one felony count of possession of child pornography after hundreds of images were found on his home computer. Flippo said some of the images were morphed to include the faces of Hawthorne's students.

He faces six to 16 years in prison, which will be determined by Judge Adrienne Grover on Oct. 24 at 1:30 p.m.

Hawthorne will be required to register as a sex offender for life, which will prevent him from holding another teaching position.

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