Former Seaman High School teacher and coach Jeffrey D. Pierce admitted Friday that while pretending to be a teenage girl, he asked nine male youths over social media to send him sexually explicit photos and videos of themselves, federal court records say.
One of those was a 15-year-old student of Pierce's, according to an agreement through which he pleaded guilty to one count of producing child pornography in exchange for the dismissal of 11 other federal charges he faced.
Pierce, 41, entered that plea Friday morning in U.S. District Court in Topeka. His sentencing was set for April 27.
The agreement said Pierce admitted having communicated with his nine victims, who were ages 14 through 16, between October 2018 and September 2020 using social media platforms that included Instagram, Snapchat and Kik.
Pierce threatened one victim, who had stopped sending him sexually explicit photos, with the possibility that his prior photos would "get out" if he didn't resume sending, the agreement said.
It said that Pierce, while still posing as a teenaged girl, asked another victim to meet with "her" friend "Jeff" to engage in sex acts. The agreement didn't say whether that subsequently happened.
Pierce agreed to conditions punishable by penalties that include a maximum of 15 to 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the agreement.
The sentencing judge may also impose an additional assessment to Pierce of up to $50,000, the agreement said.
However, it said prosecutors agreed to allow for him to receive a reduced sentence in exchange for his acceptance of responsibility.
Pierce also agreed to pay restitution to any of his victims in whatever amount the sentencing judge may order and to forfeit specific cell phones and computer equipment linked to the crime for which he was convicted.
Prosecutors agreed not to file further charges against Pierce linked to the case.
Pierce, 41, taught ninth-grade social studies and was an assistant basketball coach at Seaman. He was fired after he was arrested in September 2020.
Pierce pleaded not guilty in December 2020 to federal charges of nine counts of production of child pornography and one count each of coercion and enticement, possession of a visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and distribution of a visual depiction of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct.
U.S. District Judge Toby Crouse ruled last November that the contents of Pierce's cell phone could be used as evidence against him.
Crouse denied a motion filed by an attorney representing Pierce, who sought to suppress evidence investigators obtained from that cell phone while contended they illegally forced him to provide the passcode it used to unlock it.
Crouse concluded Pierce had provided his passcode voluntarily and that the code had also been revealed to investigators by his wife, Keelin Pierce.
This article originally appeared on Topeka Capital-Journal: Former Seaman High School teacher pleads guilty to child porn charge