Teacher Who Said He Fantasized About Touching Children Will Spend Time In Prison

Former Florida teacher Michael Gillis will spend time behind bars for child porn charges and admitting to fantasizing about children.

By Erika Hanson | Published

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Michael Gillis

Many Americans disagree with the country’s prosecution system and how it handles sex offenders, especially as it pertains to children. Often, criminals in authoritative roles tending to children are found guilty of sex crimes, only to be released within years if not months from prison sentences. Some fear this opens the door for them to harm more adolescents. This appears to be the case with a Florida school teacher, Michael Gillis, who was recently sentenced to spend less than six years in prison for his crimes.

65-year-old Michael Gillis taught school in Duval County for 15 years. Last April, he was charged with possessing child pornography, according to reports from The Florida Times-Union. While he cooperated with the investigation and plead guilty, he asserts that he never inappropriately touched or handled school children during his time in education. However, he openly admitted to fantasizing about touching them. After a horrific trial exposing the former teacher, he was sentenced to prison for five years and 10 months. Originally, he faced a 20-year sentence.

FBI agents raided Michael GIllis’ home last February after his name surfaced on an online-file sharing network for child porn. When agents showed up at his home, Gillis told them he had hundreds of illegal videos of children on his computer. He also openly admitted that he had viewed similar material for at least the past 15 years. 

What’s more, the Florida teacher revealed that he viewed and downloaded child pornography during his days as a school teacher. It remains unclear what ended his job at the school. Michael Gillis alleged in his criminal complaint that he never acted inappropriately in the classroom or school, but he admitted to thinking about performing illegal acts on schoolchildren. He said that he was incapable to stop his urge to view the illegal material.

Of what the FBI uncovered and seized, they reportedly discovered 2,000 images and 210 videos depicting child sexual abuse. Some portrayed infants and toddlers. Michael Gillis asserts that other than viewing child porn, he never physically abused a minor, asserting that he knew it was wrong. 

It is unclear whether or not his guilty plea, cooperation, and/or promise that he never sexually abused a child himself affected his sentencing, which ended up being much less harsh than prosecutors had hoped for. After being released from prison, he will also have to undergo 10 years of supervision and register as a sex offender. By the time Michael Gillis is released, he will be in his late 70s. 

Michael Gillis

Michael Gillis was caught and charged thanks to a nationwide initiative known as Project Safe Childhood. Launched in 2006 by the Department of Justice, the program focuses on discovering and catching criminals who exploit young children. Child sexual abuse has grown into an epidemic throughout the nation. Today, one in five minor girls will fall victim to sexual predators. It’s a major concern to Americans, and especially parents of schoolchildren.

At growing rates, educators are found to be the culprits of sexual abuse. This year alone, at least 181 teachers were charged with child sex crimes by the end of June. Michael Gillis may soon be behind bars, but many fear sentences like his are not enough to combat the growing issue.