Former Walker County, Ga., teacher scheduled to plead guilty in child exploitation case

Former Walker County, Ga., teacher scheduled to plead guilty in child exploitation case

November 25th, 2017 by Tyler Jett in Local Regional News
Charles Mark McCormack is scheduled to plead guilty in a child exploitation case on Nov. 27, 2017. McCormack taught kindergarten at Chattanooga Valley Elementary School from 2002-2016.

Charles Mark McCormack is scheduled to plead guilty...

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

A former Walker County, Ga., kindergarten teacher is scheduled to plead guilty in a federal child exploitation case.

Charles Mark McCormack signed a plea this week, and he is supposed to appear in a U.S. District Court in Birmingham, Ala., on Monday. McCormack secretly filmed a 5- or 6-year-old girl urinating in his bathroom, according to a criminal complaint.

McCormack taught kindergarten at Chattanooga Valley Elementary School from 2002-16 before he retired amid a federal investigation. He had been the subject of two other criminal inquiries, though the Walker County Sheriff's Office did not pursue charges after looking into the complaints. In both cases, female students in McCormack's classes accused him of abuse.

The current case against Mc-Cormack began in 1998, according to a complaint. McCormack, who lived in Muscle Shoals, Ala., at the time, allegedly set up a camera in his bathroom. A U.S. Department of Homeland Security special agent said footage from the camera shows McCormack walking out of the bathroom. A 5- or 6-year-old girl then walks in.

Soon after, according to the complaint, McCormack's girlfriend at the time found the video. She said she called the Muscle Shoals Police Department, but officers wanted her to file a formal accusation in person. For reasons unexplained in the court document, the woman declined.

Four years later, Walker County Schools officials hired McCormack to teach kindergarten. In 2010, a female student told investigators McCormack took a picture up her skirt. But investigators did not find the photo, and a prosecutor said there was not enough evidence to charge him.

In 2015, another student told investigators McCormack molested her in class. McCormack, the school's principal and the school's guidance counselor told a detective that the girl frequently misbehaved. The sheriff's office did not pursue charges in that case, either.

In May 2016, federal agents and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation raided McCormack's Flintstone home. The officers did not explain what, exactly, they were looking for. But Walker County Superintendent Damon Raines moved McCormack out of the classroom. He retired two months later.

In September 2016, according to the complaint, the woman with the video showed investigators the evidence. A year later, a grand jury indicted him on a charge of sexual exploitation of children.

Contact staff writer Tyler Jett at 423-757-6476 or tjett@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @LetsJett.


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