Ponte Vedra resident Jeremy Scott Clark, 44, pleaded guilty last Friday, June 22 to transporting images depicting child sexual abuse over the internet, according to the FBI. Employed as a First Coast High School teacher at the time of his arrest, Clark faces a minimum mandatory penalty of five years and up to 20 years in federal prison, as well as a potential life-term of supervision. A sentencing hearing has yet to be scheduled.
According to court documents, on Feb. 22, an individual using the screen name “LLCoolJack1973” responded to a message posted by an undercover FBI agent on an internet bulletin board frequented by individuals with a sexual interest in children. The user, later identified as Clark, began an online conversation with the undercover agent.
After engaging in conversations about sexual activity with children, Clark sent an explicit photo of himself to the agent, along with a link to an online storage account containing images of young children being sexually abused. Further investigation traced the internet protocol address to Clark’s residence in Ponte Vedra’s Walden Chase neighborhood.
On March 8, law enforcement officers executed a search warrant at Clark’s home and seized his cellphone. FBI agents were able to confirm that the naked male in the picture sent to the undercover agent was in fact Clark, lying on his bed in his home. A forensic examination of Clark’s phone also revealed that it contained the link to the online storage account previously sent to the agent.
Investigated by the FBI and the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, this case was brought as a part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.