From The Trussville Tribune staff reports
DOTHAN – Jason Ford, a former teaching assistant and travel softball coach, pled guilty on Nov. 20 in South Florida for attempting to produce child pornography.
Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami, Florida Field Office, Charles P. Spencer, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Jacksonville, Florida Field Office, James E. Jewell, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Mobile, Alabama Field Office, and Alphonso Norris, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Columbia, South Carolina Field Office made the announcement.
Ford, 42, of Dothan, Alabama, is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom on Feb. 1, 2019, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida (Case No. 18-cr-60117). He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison.
According to the court docket, including the agreed upon factual proffer, Ford was a teaching assistant and travel softball coach, working out of Dothan. However, Ford falsely represented himself to be a University of North Florida and University of South Carolina softball coach, in order to have contact with female high school softball players.
Ford engaged in a calculated scheme to gain the trust of minor females who aspired to earn college athletic scholarships. He engaged in inappropriate conversations with teen softball players in Florida, Alabama and Tennessee.
Ultimately, Ford made contact online with an undercover agent he believed to be a 15-year-old female softball player. Ford was arrested after he sent the teen (who, in fact, was an undercover agent) currency for a sexually explicit video.
U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of the FBI Miami, Florida, Jacksonville, Florida, Mobile, Alabama, and Columbia, South Carolina Field Offices in this matter. She also thanked the Dothan Police Department for their assistance. The case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney M. Catherine Koontz.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.