A former Howard County substitute teacher was sentenced to 16 years in prison Monday on child pornography charges in connection with two cases involving 18 minors, including 14 Howard County public school students.
Jeremy Sykes, 44, of Hesperus Drive in Columbia, was sentenced by Howard County Circuit Court by Judge Richard Bernhardt .
Sykes, who was a long-term substitute at Folly Quarter Middle School in the fall of 2013, pleaded guilty in October to 18 charges of using a computer to depict or describe a minor engaging in a sexual act, and to one count of sexual abuse of a minor.
He admitted to using yearbook photos and other photos to digitally alter pornographic images so that the faces of the minors were depicted on the bodies of others, who police say were committing sexual acts.
On Monday, Sykes apologized to the court, which included several parents of victims, according to State's Attorney spokesman Wayne Kirwan.
Kirwan said Bernhardt called Sykes' actions "troubling" and "disturbing."
Investigators identified 18 teenage girls in the altered images, including Folly Quarter students and others, according to police and prosecutors.
Police charged Sykes after linking his email address to an album of the digitally altered images, which was placed on the website Photobucket.