A former teacher and coach in the Marana Unified School District was arrested Monday in Colorado after being charged with two counts of Internet sexual exploitation of a child and one count of sexual exploitation of a minor.

Justin Ray Sargent, 33, was arrested on July 11 at the Jefferson County District Attorney's office after allegedly talking online with a female who he believed was under the age of 15.

MUSD officials say Sargent worked at Marana Middle School as an eighth-grade science teacher and softball coach for two years. He resigned on July 14.

School officials say none of the allegations involve local students.

On April 28, Mike Harris, a Jefferson County investigator, signed on to an online chat room under the identity of an under-age female. The investigator was soon contacted by someone using the screen name "greetme_az." Investigators allege that Sargent used two or more screen names, including "greetme_az."

Sargent allegedly engaged the portrayed child in sexually graphic online chat. The online chat continued intermittently until July 7.

According to the arrest affidavit, Sargent repeatedly asked the child to send him topless and other sexually-oriented photos of her, not knowing the child was actually the undercover investigator working for the Jefferson County District Attorney's office.

On July 8, authorities phoned Sargent, asking him to come to Golden, Colo. and turn himself in. Sargent complied with the request, traveling from Arizona to Colorado.

A preliminary hearing has been set for Sept. 16. Sargent posted a $10,000 personal recognizance bond, and was given permission by the court to travel to Arizona on a pretrial services travel permit.


(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.