MERIDIAN — A former middle school counselor pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to producing child pornography. He now faces between 15 and 30 years in prison.
Mark Alan Saltzer, 45, had two underage boys at his Boise home when he was arrested in August, police said. The children were aged 17 and 2. Saltzer admitted to repeatedly molesting the older boy in the home, beginning in the summer of 2012, police said.
Saltzer, who worked as counselor at Meridian Middle School at the time of his arrest, also was linked to an online group where members discussed their interest in young boys and swapped pornographic material, prosecutors said. Saltzer had been a member of the group for almost a decade, according to court documents.
Police who searched Saltzers home in August discovered 390 pornographic images of children. Most of the images showed boys ranging from 7 years old to teens, but there also were images of girls, including one depicting an infant younger than 9 months old.
In a plea agreement, Saltzer admitted to meeting boys between 10 and 17 in online chatrooms. Posing as another teenager, he encouraged them to perform sexual acts via webcam.
Saltzer recorded these sessions, producing numerous videos of boys between 2006 and 2012, prosecutors said. Some of the videos Saltzer created have been distributed worldwide and are known to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
During an interview with police after his arrest, Saltzer admitted that he was sexually attracted to pubescent male children. When detectives pointed out that files on his computers contained images of prepubescent children as well, Saltzer said "there's an element of that," according to court documents.
Sexual exploitation of children by producing sexually explicit images of minors carries a minimum sentence of 15 years, and a maximum of 30. Saltzer would not be eligible for parole because the crime is a federal offense, prosecutors said.
He is scheduled for sentencing in federal court Oct. 15.
Saltzer initially had pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of felony sexual exploitation of a child. When he was arrested, the 17-year-old boy at his home told police he had been sexually abused by Saltzer.
Meridian school officials have said that none of the crimes took place on school property.