A former social studies teacher at Western Albemarle High School has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of coercion and enticement of a minor. The teacher, Richard Neal Willetts, was arrested in March for charges stemming from a series of graphic sexual e-mails written to a male student who was only 15 at the time. While the 26-year-old Willetts is looking at 10 years in prison, registering as a sex offender and refraining from contact with minors, the September 17 plea will allow him to avoid a more serious charge of child exploitation, which carries a potential penalty of 15 to 30 years in prison.
Richard Neal Willetts, a former Western Albemarle High School teacher, plead guilty to coercing and enticing a minor
Arrested in March, Willetts allegedly used the Internet over the past two years to try and obtain sex (and reportedly did complete some of the sex acts) from as many as eight children, including one student from Fluvanna County High School and two from Western Albemarle, where he began teaching in the fall of 2005. He resigned the following summer. After earning his master’s degree from UVA, Willetts had most recently worked in the Middle East, teaching theater to middle and high school students but was taken into custody by the FBI upon returning to the United States.
If a federal judge accepts his plea, Willetts will be sentenced on December 4.
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