Substitute teacher convicted in child porn case

SAN DIEGO — A federal jury in San Diego convicted an Oceanside resident and former substitute teacher in the Temecula School District of receiving, possessing and distributing child pornography, prosecutors said.

The trial of Marlin Lee Gougher, 59, ended Wednesday with the jury finding him guilty on three charges, acting U.S. Attorney Alana Robinson said in a statement. Prosecutors said Gougher, who also tutored students privately, was found in January 2013 at his Oceanside apartment to be in possession of two laptops containing more than 300 videos depicting child pornography.

“This case is particularly disturbing given the defendant’s former position as a teacher and tutor,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Eric Birnbaum said in a statement.

Gougher testified for his own defense in the trial, electing to wear a prison-issued orange jumpsuit when he took the stand, prosecutors said. But U.S. District Court Judge William Q. Hayes ordered all of Gougher’s testimony stricken from the record for “being non-responsive to any questions posed.”

“The jury has recognized the defendant for who he is — every parent’s nightmare,” Robinson said. “This trusted teacher and tutor with direct access to children was exploiting young victims in the worst way. I consider protecting the well-being of children to be our highest calling as prosecutors.”

Birnbaum said the FBI, which led the investigation, “will not tolerate the victimization and destruction of our children’s future.”

“Each image Mr. Gougher possessed represented the victimization of a child,” Birnbaum said. “We hope this jury conviction sends a clear message … the FBI will remain vigilant and committed to removing sexual predators from our children’s lives.”

Gougher faces up to 20 years in prison on each of the three counts and up to a lifetime of supervised release.