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Former Carroll County teacher Ken Fischer pleads guilty to production of child pornography

Former Carroll County teacher Ken Fischer pleads guilty to production of child pornography
Kenneth Brian Fischer (Courtesy photo)

A former Carroll County Public Schools teacher and principal on Tuesday pleaded guilty in federal court to one count of producing child pornography.

Kenneth Brian Fischer, 40, formerly of Westminster, will serve a minimum of 15 years, with a maximum sentence of 25 years, with this agreement. Sentencing is scheduled for May 20 in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. Part of the agreement also requires Fischer to register as a sex offender.

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Fischer was in court Tuesday wearing a baggy maroon shirt and pants. He spoke very little, mostly to answer the questions from Judge Richard D. Bennett, who presided over Tuesday’s hearing, before he accepted the plea agreement.

At one point he elaborated with one of his answers. When Bennett asked him if he understood that pleading guilty to a felony charge would mean he would lose certain rights — like voting — and possibly lose the ability to hold certain degrees — like teaching.

“I absolutely feel it’s appropriate,” Fischer said.

Fischer, a former Carroll County Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year, was originally arrested Sept. 13, 2017, in Westminster as a fugitive from justice, then was extradited to Virginia, and has been in custody ever since. He was initially suspended without pay by the Carroll County Board of Education, and the school board voted to terminate him on Sept. 25, 2017.

Fischer was indicted Feb. 22 on federal charges related to the alleged use of a facility of interstate commerce to attempt to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity. Between Aug. 31 and Sept. 5 of 2017, Fischer allegedly used email and text messaging to attempt to coerce a minor to meet him for sex, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Maryland.

In May, a federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment against Fischer for production of child pornography, attempted production of child pornography, transportation of child pornography, receipt of child pornography and using a facility of interstate commerce to attempt to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity.

According to the indictment, Fischer used social media apps including Kik and Grindr to meet and communicate with underage males for the purpose of enticing and directing the minor to produce depiction of sexually explicit conduct and send them to Fischer.

In August 2017, law enforcement identified Fischer after he communicated with an undercover agent posing as a minor male on Grindr, leading to police executing a search warrant on his home on Amherst Lane in Westminster.

During the search, investigators seized multiple electronic devices. An iPhone revealed Fischer had been communicating with real minors since approximately November 2014 and continuing until the time of his arrest, according to the indictment.

During the hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ayn Ducao said Fischer admitted he enticed young teenage boys to engage in sexually explicit conduct with him, and also took pictures and videos documenting it.

He also tried to entice two other minor males to participate in sexually explicit conduct with him, she said. And Fischer engaged in online chats with at least nine additional minor males, where he either attempted to or did obtain sexually explicit photos, one of whom was 13 years old at the time, she said.

The first count of the superseding indictment, which is what Fischer pleaded guilty to, stems from a 2014 incident.

On approximately Nov. 15, 2014, according to the indictment, Fischer “did knowingly employ, use, persuade, induce, entice and coerce” a male between the age of 15 and 17, for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct — in this case two videos depicting the genitals of a minor male and two still images the minor male’s genitals.

Ducao said during the rearraignment hearing Tuesday that Fischer videoed himself and John Doe 1 mutually masturbating.

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Bennett said Tuesday that because parole has been eliminated at the federal level, Fischer would serve the entirety of whatever sentence he is given.

During the hearing, Fischer also asked about the possibility of time served being included in his sentence. Bennett said he would include the time Fischer had spent in a federal facility, which is where he has been since March 9, 2018.

In terms of the time Fischer was in custody prior to federal custody — in which he entered into on Sept. 13, 2017 — Bennett said he has no control.

“I can make the recommendation,” Bennett added, “but I can’t guarantee they’ll give you six months for that.”

Both Fischer’s attorney and Ducao declined comment Tuesday.

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