April 15, 2010

Former Teacher and Coach Sentenced to Five Years for Receipt of Child Pornography

(Media-Newswire.com) - BALTIMORE—U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced John Joseph Kovach, Jr., age 53, of Reisterstown, Maryland, today to five years in prison, followed by supervised release for life, for receipt of child pornography. The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein, Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Chief James W. Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department, Special Agent in Charge Richard McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger.

According to Kovach’s plea agreement and court documents, Kovach was an assistant field hockey coach at Towson University and was a teacher and coach at a private elementary school in Montgomery County, Maryland. On February 27, 2009, a California investigator contacted the Baltimore County Police Department concerning an individual, later determined to be Kovach, who was soliciting online an individual portraying a 13-year-old female. In his conversations with what he thought was a 13-year-old girl, Kovach stated that he was a youth soccer and swim coach in California and that he sneaks “pics” of girls in bikinis and “stuff” at pools, beaches, and water parks. Kovach also asked the individual, whom he thought was a 13-year-old girl, sexually explicit questions about her body and sexual activities.

As part of their investigation, Baltimore County Police executed search warrants at Kovach’s home and at both of the schools where he worked, seizing computers and other materials related to their investigation. A federal search warrant was issued for the seized computers and forensic analysis of the computers revealed 252 images and nine videos depicting child pornography. A number of the images of child pornography depicted children under the age of 12 years old engaging in sexually explicit conduct and some of the images also portrayed sadistic or masochistic conduct. Forensic analysis was also able to determine that the child pornography was received by Kovach through the Internet.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section ( CEOS ), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov. Details about Maryland’s program are available at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/md/Safe-Childhood/index.html.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Bonnie S. Greenberg, who prosecuted the case. SOURCE: Media Newswire

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