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News Maryland Howard County Ellicott City

Former Howard substitute teacher indicted on child porn charges

A former long-term substitute at an Ellicott City middle school already facing child porn and sex abuse charges was indicted on an additional 50 counts of child pornography by a Howard County grand jury this week. 

Jeremy Sykes, 43, of Hesperus Drive in Columbia, was indicted on the additional 50 counts on June 3. The additional charges were filed by police in May after investigators said they discovered 50 images of child pornography on Sykes' computer. 

He was originally arrested in January after police, responding to a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, traced child pornography to his personal computer at his home and a second computer belonging to the Howard County Public School System, police said.

Sykes, who taught at Folly Quarter Middle School from October 2013 through his arrest in January, was charged initially with two counts of child pornography. On Feb. 26, a Howard County grand jury indicted him on the two charges and additional charges, including one count of sex abuse of a minor, three counts of filming child porn, and two child porn distribution counts.

Last month, police said that Sykes had been charged with 14 counts of sexual abuse and 50 counts of child pornography after the investigation allegedly revealed that Sykes used yearbook photos of students at the school to digitally replace the facial images of children in pornography, police said.

Police identified 18 teenage girls in altered images, 14 of them Folly Quarter students. The other four were people Sykes knew outside of school, police said.

In all, police found 50 digitally altered pornographic images believed to have been created by Sykes using the girls' yearbook photos, which correlates to the 50-count indictment. Sykes was not indicted on additional sex abuse charges. 

After his arrest in January, school officials banned Sykes from entering any Howard County Public School property.

Police said in May that they had contacted parents of the students whose images were used in the photos, and said investigators have no evidence any of the altered photos were distributed beyond Sykes' personal access.

Sykes is free on $50,000 bond, according to the indictment, and is next scheduled to appear in court on June 19 for a motions hearing on the original charges. 

In that case, according to the indictment, Sykes is accused of sexually abusing and photographing a 16-year-old girl on Aug. 16. Sykes is also accused of distributing images of a prepubescent girl engaging in sexual acts on Dec. 3. Details about the victims in both incidents were redacted from the indictment.

Howard County police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn said that the victim in the Aug. 16 incident is not one of Sykes' former students. 

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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