Asheville, NC (ACT) -- A judge sentenced a former Owen Middle School teacher to 18 years in federal prison Thursday for producing child pornography by recording videos of students' genitals.
Kevin Mark Calloway, 43, also was sentenced to supervised probation for life after he is released from prison.
Judge Martin Reidinger presided over the emotional sentencing at the federal courthouse. More than two dozen people, including family members of Calloway as well as family members of victims, were in attendance.
In a plea agreement, the former sixth-grade math and science teacher pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of activity related to materials involved in the sexual exploitation of a minor.
Before receiving his sentence, Calloway stood and apologized to his victims, his former school and his family and friends.
"I want to apologize to all the people who have been directly or indirectly affected by my actions," said Calloway, wearing a brown jumpsuit. "I'm sorry for the emotional strain I put them through. I lived my entire life trying to be a good role model and a good person. This is really not indicative of me as a person. I'm really disappointed in myself."
Calloway, who was also a coach at Owen Middle, could have been sentenced to a maximum of 25 years on the charges. Reidinger said he went beyond the 15-year minimum sentence required because of Calloway "abusing the trust that was placed in the defendant as a teacher and coach."
"There is lifelong harm that has been perpetrated by these offenses," the judge said.
Several of Calloway's family members, including his mother, Linda Calloway, were in tears as they left the courtroom after the hearing.
"It's ridiculous," Calloway's father, Kenneth Calloway, said of the sentence. "It's too severe. He never touched a kid."
But in statements during the hearing, parents of victims made passionate arguments for a lengthy sentence. One father told Judge Reidinger, "Since the late fall of 2011, I have had to endure watching an energetic, outgoing, happy 11-year-old boy transform into a confused, untrusting, reserved and angry young man. I feel that my son had the innocence of his childhood spoiled by a figure that he was forced to respect and obey."
Calloway initially was charged by Buncombe sheriff's officers in February 2012. According to court documents, he admitted to using his cellphone to record videos of students' genitals as they urinated in the boys' bathroom at Owen Middle. He also admitted secretly videotaping children in the bathroom of his own home. According to previous testimony, Calloway told investigators that for years he exchanged sexually explicit texts and videos with students and former students. Investigators said Calloway had as many as 11 victims.
Calloway admitted he would search the Internet for explicit images depicting teenage boys, according to court documents.
Calloway was a married father of three children at the time of his arrest last year. His attorney, Jack Stewart, said Calloway's wife divorced him while he was in jail.
In pleading for a minimum sentence, Stewart said Calloway was obsessed with the size of his penis and was driven to view pictures of other penises, an obsession that made him guilty of voyeurism more so than pedophilia.
"This is someone who has an almost bizarre preoccupation with his own physique," Stewart told the court. "That's what drove him. His crimes were recording images of young persons urinating. While that is indeed a crime, that's it."
Prosecutor John Pritchard dismissed that argument.
A parent of one of the victims plans to file a civil lawsuit against Calloway and Buncombe County Schools, alleging the school system knew about Calloway's illegal activities and took no action, said the parent's attorney, Robert Tatum.
"It is our position that the school system had prior knowledge of this activity and did not act upon it," Tatum said, noting he could not provide further details until after the suit was filed.
School officials Thursday declined to comment on the case or a possible lawsuit.
A parent called Owen Middle officials on Dec. 20, 2011, to report one of the bathroom incidents involving Calloway. Principal Vicky Matthews conducted an internal investigation, but her findings were inconclusive, school officials said previously.
Matthews never contacted the Sheriff's Office, and the school resource officer at the campus was unaware of the case. Matthews was placed on administrative leave and later resigned.
The Sheriff's Office investigation kicked off in January 2012 after a family friend of one of the victims complained to a sheriff's detective. Calloway was charged Feb. 1, 2012.