Alabaster man pleads guilty to making child porn

FROM STAFF REPORTS

A 60-year-old Alabaster man and substitute school bus driver for Shelby County Schools pleaded guilty on Jan. 31 to one count of production of child pornography after authorities said he took explicit photos of students in an abandoned school building.

Michael Wayne Wooten pleaded guilty to the charge in front of U.S. District Judge Inge P. Johnson.

Wooten is scheduled for sentencing on May 2, and faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison, as well as the possibility of lifetime supervised release. Wooten also faces a fine of $250,000.

Wooten worked as a security officer for the Birmingham city school system when, between August 2009 and April 2010, he used an office at Dupuy Elementary School to take modeling photos of numerous juvenile girls, according to court records.

After one of these modeling sessions, one of the victims informed her parents of potentially inappropriate conduct by Wooten.

According to a press release from U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, a subsequent search of Wooten’s residence yielded multiple computers containing child pornography images. Vance said the images produced by Wooten depicted several victims, between 4 and 9 years old, engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Wooten qualified for a bus-driving license with Shelby County in 2011 after passing all pre-employment requirements, including a criminal background review, according to a previous press release from Vance. Wooten served as a substitute bus driver on 21 days during the fall 2011 school semester before his November 2011 arrest.

“Wooten’s crimes highlight the need for us to remain vigilant in protecting our children, the most vulnerable in our society, from sexual predators,” Vance wrote in the release. “Parents, educators and all members of our community should know that we are prepared to fully investigate allegations of these crimes. As U.S. attorney, I encourage anyone with knowledge of crimes against children to report them so that we can protect the youngest members of our community.”

This case was investigated by the FBI and the Birmingham Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel Fortune and Trial Attorney Jeffrey H. Zeeman of the Justice Department Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.