If you or someone you know is considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It’s available 24-hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.
Editor’s Note: The details of this story are disturbing.
MAYFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) – A former Mayfield Middle School teacher was sentenced Tuesday to 10 to 13 years.
Daniel Carlson, 36, pleaded guilty to 14 counts for sex crimes involving at least eight victims.
Investigators say from September 2019 to June 2021, Carlson used fake profiles on social media to solicit children, including some students, for sexual photos and videos.
Prosecutors say he paid some children thousands of dollars and then blackmailed them to keep sending explicit content.
Prosecutors also say he offered some kids money for sex but don’t believe any meetings ever took place.
He was arrested in July 2021, shortly after he resigned.
He was a middle school math teacher and a high school girls’ track coach.
Carlson pleaded guilty to the following charges:
- Two Counts of Pandering Sexually-Oriented Matter Involving a Minor
- Two Counts of Compelling Prostitution
- Two Counts of Extortion
- Three Counts of Attempted Illegal Use of Minor In Nudity-Oriented Material or Performance
- Three Counts of Importuning
- One Count of Attempted of Pandering Sexually-Oriented Matter Involving a Minor
- One Count of Tampering With Evidence
Carlson was sentenced to 13 years on all the charges.
That included several sentences to run concurrently.
Investigators say the victims were 14 to 17 years old.
“He stole their childhood,” a mother of one of the victims told the court.
She said her child had tried to commit suicide because of the trauma.
The prosecutor’s office said Carlson threw his mobile devices in the Cuyahoga River.
They believe that there still may be more victims.
Carlson’s defense said that he had been battling mental health issues for several years and pointed blame at the victims for participating in the conversation and sharing of photos.
“They also engaged in this conduct,” Carlson’s defense attorney said.
“We’re not shifting any blame to the victims,” said Judge Joan Synenberg.
“The harm has been severe,” Synenberg said of the victims.
“He continued to victimize until he got caught,” she said.
She argued that the evidence showed Carlson was at an elevated risk to re-offend.
His defense pointed to Carlson not having a prior criminal record.
Judge Synenberg argued that his charges stretch over nearly 2 years.
“He put the fear of God in these kids,” the judge said, referring to Carlson threatening the victims, telling them he would post their videos and photos.
Carlson’s defense pushed back, saying that he had been under supervised release since last summer, which proved that he didn’t need prison time to make sure he didn’t re-offend.
“He has an above-average likelihood of being a re-offender,” Synenberg said quoting a report from Carlson’s therapist.
Carlson read a letter to the court, saying he was overwhelmed by remorse.
He said he became addicted to pornography.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry for deceiving you. I’m sorry for taking advantage of you. I’m sorry for treating you like an object,” Carlson said.
“I’m sorry for what you had to go through, and what you continue to struggle with.”
“You are the one who is supposed to prevent this type of behavior,” Synenberg responded.
“I am not casting blame on the child victims here.”
“This is the price you got to pay for what you did to these kids,” the judge said when handing down the up-to 13-year sentence.
Carlson will also be required to register as a sex offender, with 5 years of mandatory post-release control.