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Sentencing in ex-Ohio official's child porn case

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A former high-ranking Ohio Department of Education official was scheduled for sentencing Friday after pleading guilty to a single count of possession of child pornography.

John Childs, the department's former chief financial officer and chief operating officer, could face nearly four years in prison at the hearing in federal court in Columbus, according to court records.

But prosecutors are recommending a lower sentence of six months plus five years' probation, citing Childs' lack of criminal history and cooperation. They also note a probation officer's recommendation that Judge James Graham consider Childs' positive childhood and upbringing, his educational and work history and the lack of a "hands-on offense."

Childs, who pleaded guilty in April, was fired Nov. 2 after the agency was provided evidence related to a State Highway Patrol investigation.

A charge made public in April said Childs knowingly possessed images of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Childs had 11 images of child pornography on his desktop computer at home when a search warrant was executed in August, according to court records.

Childs' attorney Joseph Scott has said his client agreed to plead guilty because of a government offer that couldn't be passed up.

The Education Department says Childs worked on the agency's financial side, never had an educator's license, and was not in contact with children as a state official.

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