PHILADELPHIA – Acting United States Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams announced that Christopher O’Sullivan, 32, of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced to 15 years in prison, 10 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $5,200 restitution by United States District Judge Nitza I. Quinones-Alejandro for crimes stemming from his sexual exploitation of a student via text message.
In October 2020, the defendant pleaded guilty to one count of enticement of a minor, and one count of production of child pornography. According to court documents, over the course of several weeks in June and July 2019, O’Sullivan, a middle school teacher at a Philadelphia charter school at the time, sent a series of sexually suggestive text messages to Minor 1, a student of his who was twelve years old, in an effort to coerce the boy to engage in sexual activity and to send O’Sullivan sexually explicit photographs. Eventually, the child acquiesced to the pressure and sent O’Sullivan a photograph of his genitalia. The child’s parents saw the sexually explicit text messages on the child’s phone and contacted authorities, and law enforcement later found the same photograph on the defendant’s phone.
“O’Sullivan held one of the most sacred positions of trust in our society, a molder of young minds – a teacher,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Williams. “Schools must be safe havens for children. For this defendant to abuse his position by targeting and manipulating a student for his own perverse gratification is almost unimaginable. As always, we stand ready with our federal partners to identify and prosecute individuals that perpetuate this type of child abuse.”
“What a betrayal by Christopher O’Sullivan,” said Michael J. Driscoll, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division.
“He went from teaching a classroom full of kids to eagerly manipulating and sexually exploiting a vulnerable young boy. O’Sullivan is now being held responsible for his predatory behavior, locked behind bars so he can’t target anyone else’s child.”
This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a Department of Justice nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Department’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michelle L. Morgan.