John McGill, principal of Mt. Carmel Elementary School in Douglas County, confers with his attorney Mac Pilgrim during his first appearance hearing at DeKalb County Magistrate Court on Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in Decatur. He is accused of a felony offense of electronic pornography and child exploitation.
Photo: Curtis Compton
Photo: Curtis Compton

Former Douglas County principal convicted on child sex charge

A former Douglas County elementary school principal has been convicted of soliciting sex from minors online.

John Harold McGill, 57, was arrested in a GBI child sex sting in March, and was later indicted by a federal grand jury.

He was convicted Tuesday afternoon following a two-day jury trial, and will be sentenced on Feb. 6, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta.

McGill resigned as principal of Mt. Carmel Elementary School after his arrest.

He was 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 read.

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.

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