Former Billings teacher will admit creating, sending child porno - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Former Billings teacher will admit creating, sending child pornography

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Scott Nichols, a former teacher and coach, pleads guilty (MTN News) Scott Nichols, a former teacher and coach, pleads guilty (MTN News)

A former Billings high school teacher who was federally indicted on 23 counts of child pornography charges has agreed to plead guilty to five of the charges.

Scott Nichols, 42, who was set to take his case to trial on Monday, signed a plea agreement June 3.

Nichols will plead guilty to two counts of coercion and enticement of a child, two counts of attempted coercion and enticement, and one count of distributing child pornography, according to the agreement.

The federal indictment filed in Montana's U.S. District Court in August 2014 names at least three female victims ages 13 to 15.

The indictment states that in 2013, Nichols coerced the girls to engage in sexually explicit conduct so he could photograph them.

Nichols distributed the photos online, court documents state.

The indictment also states that Nichols possessed several computers with hundreds of pornographic images and videos of children under the age of 12.

The charges of coercion and enticement of a child each carry a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.

The charge of distributing child pornography carries a minimum sentence of five years in prison.

According to the plea agreement, prosecutors will drop the other 18 charges.

Nichols was caught when he attempted to solicit pornography online from who he thought was a 16-year-old girl, court documents state.

The girl was actually a Bozeman police detective.

The detective executed a search warrant and investigated Nichols' Facebook page where the detective found that Nichols had solicited girls for photos using a fake name, court documents state.

The Facebook account was accessed from Nichols' home, as well as Billings West High where he worked as a gym teacher and girls basketball coach.

An investigation determined that Nichols received and viewed child pornography on his school computer.

After allegations arose, the school board chose not to renew his contract.

Prior to teaching at the high school, Nichols coached track at Riverside Middle School and before that taught in Livingston for 15 years.

The change of plea hearing was set for June 11, but Nichols defense attorney could not be present due to other obligations.

The hearing has been reset for June 24.

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