FAIRFAX, Va. - A Fairfax County middle school teacher arrested last September after he was found in a car with a 16-year-old girl is now facing new criminal charges.
Michael Sweeney was only charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor after the incident. But through the course of the investigation, they were able to discover that the 44-year-old has had a sexual relationship with the girl for two years and took photos and videos.
Sweeney was arrested by Fairfax County police on Monday and is now charged with ten counts that include making child pornography and soliciting a minor under 15 years old.
Last September, police found Sweeney in a hotel parking lot in the early morning hours with the 16-year-old girl. They were both partially undressed. This incident started the police investigation.
Sweeney had been a technology education teacher at Walt Whitman Middle School for over 15 years. The school suspended him without pay after the incident.
According to a spokesperson for Fairfax County Public Schools, Sweeney resigned on Dec. 31 and parents were notified of the new charges on Tuesday.
Fairfax County police said they only know of one victim in this case and they are not aware of a threat to the community.
Fairfax County Police Lt. James Bacon said that his Child Exploitation Unit deals almost entirely with crimes that come from predators using social media, computers and cell phones to lure in kids. He gave us these tips for parents to protect children from sexual predators:
1. When you kids are not with you, who are they with? Know their friends' names in case any of them turn out to be a danger.
2. Monitor your child's phone communication – look at their text messages and phone calls.
3. Police say that no one under 18 should have a cell phone or tablet that the parent doesn’t know the password for.
4. Parents have to know the social media and apps their kids are using. For example, you can't monitor what photos they are sending on Snapchat if you don’t know how it works.
5. Look at their social media accounts so you can see who they are interacting with and who is talking to them.