Bad Teacher

Posted August 20th, 2012 by Leah R with No Comments

Not what you’re thinking.  Despite the bad attitude of Cameron Diaz in her terrible movie, she looks like a saint compared to town pervert Eric Justin Toth.  Toth is a former third grade teacher at the very wealthy and elite Beauvoir school located in Washington, DC.  It was at Beauvoir that Toth violated the trust of nearly every family associated with the school when a pornographic picture of a child was found on a school issued camera in his possession.  When school officials were notified of the picture they immediately contacted authorities but it was too late as Toth was gone.  This was nearly 4 years ago.  Since that time the FBI has been following lead after lead in an effort to find the recent addition to the FBI’s most wanted list with limited success.

The photo on the phone is alleged to be just the tip of Toth’s child pornography ice berg.  Toth is believed to not only have taken pictures of children using the bathroom, but he is further thought to have installed a video camera in the children’s bathroom at Beauvoir.  The FBI believes Toth is creating obscene imagery from the pictures taken and trafficking them online.  Toth is said to have offered his services while at Beauvoir, as a babysitter and tutor, likely in an effort to endear himself with parents so as to have more opportunity with their children.

Like most criminals on the lam, Toth will eventually get caught.  When he does he will most likely be charged under Federal Statute 18 USC 1466 with the offense of engaging in the business of selling or transferring obscene matter.  Unlike most state sentencing, Federal Sentencing is a relatively rigid guideline system that assigns a “base offense level” to a crime and is calculated using a points system that is associated with a  term of months.  Additionally, a criminal history category is assigned, determined by prior criminal history and incarceration periods.  With respect to Toth, it seems as if what he’s doing is his first known violation of criminal law.  If this is the case, his criminal history category will be considered a level 1, the lowest level.  Where things will get serious for Toth is his offense level and the specific offense and general adjustments that will apply.  Because Toth will likely be convicted of 18 USC 1466, his base offense level will be an 18.  Under guideline 2G2.2(b)(2) because Toth was dealing with children who are considered “prepubescent” minors and were under 12 years old, 2 points will be added to his base offense level of 18, now making his total offense level a 20.  Under 2G2.2(3)(A) or (B) if the United States can show (which they likely will) that Toth distributed his pictures and creations therefrom to others in exchange for monetary gain or another thing of value, he will have 5 points added to his base offense level, now making his total offense level a 25 due to inclusion of the 2 point increase mentioned above.  Assuming, for arguments sake, that Toth didn’t molest any of the children his next point addition would be based on his computer use and how many images he had.  For conservative purposes I’ll presume he had at least 10 images which would allow for an increase of 2 points, bringing his total to 27.  In reviewing certain aggravating factors, Toth will likely be given a two level increase due to his blatant abuse of a “position of trust” in that he is a teacher and used his status to facilitate his perverted crime.  With the additional two points, his total will now be 29.  It is possible when calculating Toth’s appropriate sentence that federal probation could increase his total offense level by two additional points for “using a minor to commit a crime” under Federal Guideline 3B1.4, although this could be a stretch.  For argument’s sake we’ll apply it bringing the total offense level now to a level 31.  If Toth destroys evidence and the United States can prove he did so, he will be looking at a two point enhancement for obstruction bringing his total offense level to 33 (the USA could charge him with the substantive crime of obstruction in the alternative though it is unlikely as the guideline enhancement would go further to gaining a long sentence).

Like any other defendant, Toth could potentially help himself in reducing his sentence.  Should Toth elect to cooperate completely upon his arrest and truthfully debrief to Federal Agents, he could be eligible for a 2-3 point reduction in his total offense level.  Assuming he does so and the United States motions the court for the third point, Toth’s total offense level would be 30 under our hypothetical.  Lastly, should Toth elect to help Federal Agents in their pursuit of other, perhaps larger traffickers of child pornography he could be eligible for a reduction in sentence pursuant to Federal Guideline 5K1.1 or Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 35 for substantially assisting authorities.  If this happens, the Assistant United States Attorney could file a motion thereby opening the door for the Judge to reduce the sentence based upon the Judge’s discretion.

Ultimately I believe Toth will be sentenced using a total offense level of 30 as it is my doubt the United States Attorney will be interested in using his spoon fed knowledge thereby warranting a 5K motion.  At a level 30 Toth will be looking at 97-121 months in prison (8-11 years).  His violation of 18 USC 1466 is punishable under 18 USC 2252 and carries with it a 5 year minimum mandatory prison term with a maximum of 20 years.  The Federal Sentencing Guidelines are now only advisory pursuant to the US v. Booker and Blakely v. Washington and so Toth’s judge theoretically could sentence him higher than what the guidelines call for but would need to qualify the increase in order for the sentence to withstand appeal.

Regardless of the outcome, Eric Justin Toth is in huge trouble.  Having gotten to know many federal agents in my time as a Federal Criminal Defense Attorney I can tell you they will catch him.  He can only run so long and eventually his arrogance will be his downfall.

If you’ve received a “target” letter from the United States Attorney’s Office or are facing a Federal Charge, contact Jason Mayberry today for a free consultation and advice on how he can help you.  Jason Mayberry is available at 727-771-3847, online at www.mayberryfirm.com, or via email at jason@mayberryfirm.com.

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