The Gist: A Calhoun man and his wife — who was once a special education teacher in Cherokee County — are headed to federal prison for sharing and concealing explicit images of minors.
What Happened: William Sandridge, 42, shared graphic images involving minors with his wife Allyn Michelle Sandridge, who used to teach special education in a Canton charter school. The couple took steps to keep their actions under the radar, using encrypted messaging and deleting texts. They were caught, however, leading to federal prison sentences announced on September 6.
By The Numbers:
- William Sandridge sentenced to seven years and three months in prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release.
- Allyn Michelle Sandridge sentenced to one year and six months in prison, also followed by a lifetime of supervised release.
Why It Matters: This case highlights the urgency in cracking down on those who exploit minors, especially when an educator is involved. Chris Hosey, Director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, noted the importance of holding accountable “those who sexually exploit children.”
What’s Next: The couple’s prosecution was part of a broader federal initiative called Project Safe Childhood aimed at halting online exploitation. The program will continue to work with local, state, and federal agencies to identify and prosecute sexual predators.
Local Collaboration: Investigations involved not just feds but also the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Calhoun Police. Homeland Security Investigations took the lead on a federal level.
Court Details: U.S District Judge William M. Ray, II handed down the sentences. William pleaded guilty to distribution of a visual depiction of a minor in sexually explicit conduct on June 6. Allyn pleaded guilty to possession of such materials and misprision of a felony on May 25.
Legal Jargon: Misprision of a felony is the act of knowing about a felony but not reporting it. In Allyn’s case, she actively took steps to conceal her husband’s crime, according to the prosecution.
Closing Statement: The couple from Calhoun has been sentenced, but the fight to protect Georgia’s children continues. This case serves as a grim reminder that those in positions of trust can turn out to be the ones we need to protect our kids from the most.