From staff reports

Former Rusk High School teacher Harold “Bo” Scallon received a 78-month sentence Tuesday for possession of child pornography.

The 60-year-old Jacksonville resident was indicted March 4 on one count of possession of and one count of distribution of material involving the sexual exploitation of minors. According to U.S. District Attorney Bill Baldwin, the distribution charge was dismissed by United States Eastern District Magistrate Judge John D. Love, because of Scallon’s plea agreement.

Scallon pleaded guilty April 8 to charges of possession of material involving the sexual exploitation of a child.

He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Michael Schneider and must register as a sex offender.

The indictment charged Scallon owned a personal computer — confiscated from his Jacksonville home during an investigation by the Longview Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation — containing sexually explicit material featuring minors and that he distributed sexually explicit material in August 2007.

Scallon retired from teaching senior English at RISD, effective June 2002, but continued to teach under one-year contracts until April 2007. He had worked for the RISD for more than 28 years.

Scallon’s case was part of Project Safe Childhood, created in February 2006 by the U.S. Department of Justice and designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.

“Our nation has made this commitment — anyone who targets a child for harm will be a primary target of law enforcement,” President George W. Bush states in a release published on the Project Safe Childhood Web site. “Anyone who takes the life or innocence of a child will be punished to the full extent of the law.”

The program is implemented through the collaboration of federal, state and local law enforcement officials in each district to investigate and prosecute crimes against children committed through the Internet or other electronic communications devices.

United States Attorney Richard B. Roper unveiled Project Safe Childhood in North Texas, along with the formation of the Northern District of Texas Child Exploitation Working Group, in June 2006.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Longview Police Department investigated the case.

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