BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A former teacher at G.W. Carver High School in Birmingham has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for sending sexually explicit messages and pictures to a minor.

A federal judge sentenced 57-year-old Richard Pope to 54 months in prison for three counts of transmission of obscene material to a minor. Pope previously pleaded guilty to the charges.

Pope was a graphic arts teacher at the school as well as the head baseball coach until he was arrested in September 2020. According to the plea agreement, Pope began messaging the minor on Facebook in March of that year and engaged in “sexually explicit conversations and sent the minor obscene images.”

“This sentence sends a strong message that those who abuse their positions of trust with our children will be prosecuted and punished,” US Attorney Prim Escalona said. “My office, along with our law enforcement partners, will work to ensure that our schools are always safe for our children.”

Following Pope’s release from prison, he will be under supervision for three years and he must register as a sex offender.