BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Last week, a federal judge sentenced a Birmingham teacher for transferring obscene material to a minor, announced U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona and FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Felix A. Rivera-Esparra.
U.S. District Court Judge Madeline H. Haikala sentenced Richard Pope, 57, of Birmingham, to 54 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release. As a condition of his supervised release, Pope must register as a sex offender in accordance with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). Pope previously pleaded guilty to three counts of transmission of obscene material to a minor.
According to the plea agreement, Richard Pope was a graphics art teacher and baseball coach at G.W. Carver High School in Birmingham. In March 2020, Pope messaged a minor on Facebook. During the chats, Pope engaged the minor in sexually explicit conversations and sent the minor obscene images.
“This sentence sends a strong message that those who abuse their positions of trust with our children will be prosecuted and punished,” U.S Attorney Escalona said. “My office, along with our law enforcement partners, will work to ensure that our schools are always safe for our children.”
“Pope betrayed the trust granted to him in his position as a teacher and now will pay the consequences for his actions,” SAC Rivera said. “The public can rest assured that the FBI will always be vigilant in pursuing those who choose to prey on our most vulnerable, especially our children. I am proud of the work done by the FBI Birmingham Child Exploitation Human Trafficking Task Force and our partners at ALEA for bringing Pope to justice.”
FBI Birmingham’s Child Exploitation Human Trafficking Task Force investigated the case along with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. Assistant U.S. Attorneys John M. Hundscheid and R. Leann White prosecuted the case.
The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched by the Department of Justice in May 2006 to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. 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, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.