Former Little League Umpire Pleads Guilty to Child Pornography

 A former Little League umpire pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of possession of child pornography after he admitted to possessing more than 600 images of child pornography, prosecutors said.

Donald A. Essex, 68, of Alexandria, was arrested in May after contacting an undercover FBI agent through a social networking site and instant messages. He told the undercover officer that he wanted to engage in sexual acts with an underage girl, according to the United States Attorney’s Office.

He also sent the officer about a dozen images of child pornography, prosecutors say. Court documents report Essex made plans to meet the girl for sex but later backed out. Essex was arrested shortly thereafter.

Authorities seized a computer, hard drives and other devices during a search of Essex’s home in May. The devices had images and videos depicting child pornography, prosecutors said.

Essex had been an umpire for the Fort Hunt Little League in Alexandria. He served as chief umpire for the league for a time. None of the allegations against him involved children in the Fort Hunt Little League, but parents in the area were still concerned.

League president Barry Meuse said the league is adding new training this fall to try to better identify potential predators.

“We’re pleased this doesn’t have to go through a long process,” said Meuse. “This ends, for many people, a very painful period.”

Essex faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. He will be sentenced Dec. 1.

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