Halethorpe man charged in child pornography case

He is accused of soliciting two students to pose nude

February 14, 2004|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

A 27-year-old former band assistant at North Carroll High School has been charged with four counts of sending child pornography over the Internet to two teen-age students whom he allegedly solicited to pose naked for him, authorities said yesterday.

Donald Edward Godman of the 900 block of Francis Ave. in Halethorpe, Baltimore County, was a part-time percussion instructor and band assistant at the school when he began instant messaging the girls on the computer as far back as 2000, according to charging documents in Carroll County District Court.

One student played in the marching band, and the other was in the color guard.

Godman is charged with two counts of disseminating child pornography and two counts of soliciting the girls to pose naked, court documents state. The charges involve incidents in November 2002 and December 2002.

Godman was released without bail Thursday night after appearing before a court commissioner on the charges.

County school and court officials said Godman was never a school-system employee and had left North Carroll High before the criminal investigation began last February. The officials said a band boosters group hired Godman.

"The high school boosters groups many times help provide people to come in and help short-term," said Jeffrey P. Rogers, supervisor of fine arts for the Carroll County school system, who was not familiar with the criminal case. For example, he said, "they might hire someone to write the music for the marching band."

"Many of our marching bands will have a percussion instructor or a front [color guard] instructor to teach the flags," Rogers said.

The investigation by the state police Child Abuse and Sexual Assault unit began Feb. 3 last year after a parent saw a computer message at one of the girls' homes in Hampstead, authorities said.

Police began the investigation after one girl told officers that she had developed a relationship over the computer with Godman after joining the marching band in August 2001, when she was 15, according to charging documents.

By the winter of 2001, the two began flirting. Godman asked her to send pictures of herself, which she did, documents said.

The girl said that during this time, Godman also sent her pornographic pictures of other girls - including two or three photos of a school friend, documents stated.

When interviewed by police, the second girl said she met Godman in September 2000 in the color guard, when he was a drum instructor, and then began messaging him on the computer in November, according to the charges.

She told police she considered Godman a "mentor," but he persisted in asking her to meet him outside the school. She said she sent him photographs she took in her home in Hampstead in November 2002, according to court documents.

In the summer of 2002, when she was 15, he took her to his home and took photographs of her naked, according to the charging documents.

The second girl also said they engaged in consensual sex several times, but she was vague about the timeframe, according to charging documents.

A prosecutor said one reason the investigation took so long was because of a backlog in examining computers for criminal cases.

A computer and 13 disks were seized in a raid of Godman's home last February, and subsequently analyzed by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, according to the charging documents.

If convicted, Godman faces up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.

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