Guy West, 45, of Jersey City, had pleaded guilty last month before U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan in Trenton federal court to one count of distribution of child pornography. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, "West was working as a permanent substitute teacher who regularly taught and supervised children between the ages of 2 and 14 at the time of his January 2013 arrest. According to documents filed in the case and statements made during West’s guilty plea proceeding:
"West admitted that on Dec. 18, 2012, he made images and videos of child pornography available that were stored on his home computer for others to download via a peer-to-peer file-sharing network. On that date, an undercover law enforcement agent successfully downloaded 120 images and 24 videos of child sexual abuse from West via the file-sharing network.
"As part of his guilty plea, West agreed to forfeit the computers and computer accessories he used to commit the offense.
"The count of distributing child pornography to which West pleaded guilty carries a mandatory minimum penalty of five years in prison, a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine."
Last year, the Reporter published a story in response to West's arrest about how local schools screen job applicants,
In the story, Director of Communications for Stevens Cooperative School Wendy Eaton said that West worked a normal daily schedule and was in the classroom almost every day.
“Mr. West was used where he was needed, in the office, in classrooms when extra teacher help was needed and substituting for absent teachers,” Eaton said. “Many of our families felt warmly about him. There were never any reports from parents that he had acted inappropriately with students.”
Eaton said that although it is not required by law for independent or private schools to conduct criminal history background checks on employees, Stevens Cooperative School chooses to have the New Jersey Department of Education’s Criminal History Review Unit conduct them anyway. This, according to Eaton, is in addition to interviews with a variety of administrators and faculty. Applicants are also required to provide an array of references that are thoroughly checked.
West apparently had no prior record.
“According to what we heard from the FBI on Monday, there is no way to tell who would be involved in these kinds of activities, or screen for these attributes,” Eaton said in an email. The school had an open meeting with parents and the FBI that day.
Read our previous coverage here.
U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman credited special agents of the FBI, Newark Division’s Child Exploitation Task Force, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Aaron T. Ford in Newark; officers of the Jersey City Police Department, under the direction of Chief of Police Robert Cowan; and the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office, under the direction of Acting Prosecutor Gaetano T. Gregory with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Danielle Alfonzo Walsman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office General Crimes Unit in Newark.