WASHINGTON — Even after Christopher Speights is sentenced in a Worcester County Courtroom at the end of the month, it won’t mark the end of the horrific child sex abuse case.
Last week Speights was given a 35-year prison sentence by a federal judge, and a 30-year sentence from a Prince George’s County judge. He pleaded guilty to sexually abusing dozens of students and athletes he interacted with as a substitute teacher and youth basketball coach.
After Speights was sentenced in Prince George’s County, prosecutors laid out just how much work there’s left to do in identifying the victims of his abuse.
When he was arrested, authorities found over 150 files (some still images, some videos) that contained child pornography. Authorities are still trying to identify many of those victims.
“In this case there’s about at least 50 students that have been identified,” says Assistant Attorney General Kelly Burrell. “Those (victims) may not be in Prince George’s County, but I know a large majority are.”
That’s because some of the images found on Speights’ electronic devices were shared with him by other people. However, Speights was also producing his own child pornography with children he had access to as a teacher and coach.
“So some of these children‘s pictures came to him from other unidentified people,” says Burrell. “But we do know the images that he created are of Prince George’s County children.”
Prosecutors stress that the victims will face daunting challenges as a result of their abuse, making it urgent that they get help.
“The kids have to learn how to move forward and recognize that they were victims,” says Burrell. “They did nothing wrong, but they need to be able to move forward and put this behind them so they can lead productive lives going forward.”
Burrell said victims “need proper counseling to move forward” and urged parents who believe their child to be a victim of abuse to call 1-800-637-5437.
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