A former Russell County teacher pleaded guilty Monday to a federal charge that he attempted to receive materials that contained images of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
The plea agreement for Jeffrey McGaha, 49, calls for a five-year prison sentence if U.S. District Judge Greg N. Stivers accepts it.
McGaha also could be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
McGaha used a cellphone and social media to contact a person in an attempt to receive child pornography, according to his plea agreement.
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McGaha taught at an elementary school at the time the investigation surfaced.
The victim in the case was not his student at the time, but McGaha’s first contact with her was when he taught at another elementary school, said Russell Springs police Chief Joseph M. Irvin, whose department investigated.
McGaha, of Russell Springs, was indicted last December on a charge of persuading, inducing and enticing a minor to engage in sexual activity between September 2012 and September 2014.
That charge carried a minimum 10-year sentence.
His attorney, Kent Wicker, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jo E. Lawless negotiated an agreement for McGaha to plead guilty to a charge with a lower mandatory sentence.
McGaha was taken into custody after the plea hearing in Bowling Green, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr.
McGaha is scheduled to be sentenced in July.
The investigation in the case also led to federal charges against Timothy Ellis, who had been a teacher in Casey County.
The indictment allleges that between November 2010 and July 2013, he tried to persuade or entice a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct; that he attempted to get a minor to take part in such conduct for the purpose of producing a visual image; and that he attempted to receive child pornography.
The most serious charge carries a minimum 15-year sentence. Ellis has pleaded innocent.
McGaha and Ellis both quit in early 2015 after Russell Springs police gave school officials information on the investigation.
The two are the only ones who will be charged in federal court as a result of the investigation, but there is a potential for charges in state court, Irvin said Tuesday.