Federal charges for ex-Douglas County principal in child sex sting

The former Douglas County elementary school principal arrested in a child sex sting in DeKalb County in March has been indicted by a federal grand jury.

Ex-Mt. Carmel Elementary School principal John Harold McGill turned himself in to the FBI Friday after a federal warrant was issued for his arrest, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has learned.

McGill is accused of attempting to arrange sex with a 13-year-old via the Internet and text messages.

“The defendant … using a means of interstate commerce, knowingly attempted to persuade, induce, and entice an individual who had not attained the age of 18 years to engage in sexual activity,” the federal indictment reads.

McGill was appeared before a federal judge Friday who granted him a $25,000 bond, but allowed him to be released on his own signature so long as he remained on a GPS ankle monitor, his attorney Mac Pilgrim told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

McGill was one of 14 people arrested as part of an undercover investigation conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit.

Each person was charged with violating the Computer or Electronic Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act of 2007, a felony.

Prosecutors said McGill responded to a Craigslist “casual encounters” ad on March 1 that purported to be from a mother looking for someone to offer her “young teen daughter some … fatherly attention.”

After exchanging emails and texting with a police officer pretending to be the mother, prosecutors said McGill agreed to drive from his Villa Rica home to Lithonia for a sexual rendezvous with the daughter.

He was arrested by police and GBI agents when he arrived, and police said he was carrying condoms.

After McGill’s probable cause hearing in March, Pilgrim said his client said no illegal contact was ever made with a child.

“My client never touched a child,” Pilgrim said at the time. “My client never communicated with a child.”

McGill, who was released from the DeKalb County jail on $50,000 bond after his arrest, was ordered to stay away from minors and not have unsupervised contact with his three stepchildren, ages 9, 14 and 17.

He resigned as principal of Mt. Carmel Elementary School on March 14, Douglas County School System spokeswoman Karen Stroud said.

Friday evening, Pilgrim said the federal judge allowed McGill to be released from federal custody because McGill had already met the requirements for bond from DeKalb.

McGill will continue to live with his adult son in Alabama, Pilgrim said.

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