ASHLAND, Ohio – A 33-year-old Ohio kindergarten teacher was sentenced to more than a half-century in prison this week for secretly recording 25 students in a school bathroom.
An Ashland County judge sentenced former R.F. McMullen School teacher Elliot Gornall to 56 years in prison Monday after he pleaded no-contest in October to 181 criminal charges involving child pornography, the Mansfield News Journal reports.
During a police search of Gornall’s home related to a drug investigation, they found 14 pairs of young girls’ underwear, a book of images of nude children, and more than 300 images and 60 videos of child pornography on his computer, including some featuring his students.
“Authorities say Gornall used a small spy camera to record 25 of his students at a school in Loudonville, about 80 miles south of Cleveland,” KWTX reports. “The images were recorded between August and November 2014.”
The initial drug investigation spawned from a U.S. Department of Homeland Security tip that Gornall was set to receive a package of 60 white pills in the mail. The search of his home also netted opioid pain killers, marijuana, diazepam, clonazepam, alprazolam, tramadol and acetaminophen, which he allegedly told police he ordered from overseas through the internet, the News Journal reports.
Gornall’s attorney attempted to get the child pornography evidence dismissed on a technicality – claiming investigators inferred his computer would have porn based on the other evidence. But the judge ruled the child porn on his computer would have been discovered during the course of the drug investigation regardless, and found Gornall guilty of the child pornography charges, according to the news site.
The former teacher has denied the charges since his arrest last November and entered the no-contest plea in October with the intention of appealing the judge’s decision not to exclude the child pornography evidence.
Authorities claim there’s no evidence students were physically abused or touched inappropriately by their teacher. Gornall was also indicted on charges of drug possession and receiving stolen property, the Associated Press reports.
“Gornall apologized in a brief statement in front of dozens in the courtroom” at his sentencing Monday, the News Journal reports. “Ashland County Prosecutor Chris Tunnell expects Gornall to serve the entire half-century in prison, noting Gornall was more of an offender than was mentioned during the pre-sentencing investigation.”
Gornall’s stiff sentence didn’t solicit any sympathy online.
“Castrate him. Scum of the earth!” Tissy Marie posted to Facebook.
“Bullet would be cheaper,” Mark Powers added.
Sue Mortimer wrote: “I also have a granddaughter that goes to that school. She was not involved, but was in the same grade and could have been.
“I hope the pervert gets all he deserves plus more in prison!”