ALABAMA (WRBL) – An Alabama teacher has been sentenced to serve more than four years in prison for transferring obscene material to a minor.

Last week, Richard Pope, age 57, was sentenced to 54 months in federal prison, the FBI said in a news release.

“This sentence sends a strong message that those who abuse their positions of trust with our children will be prosecuted and punished,” U.S. Attorney Prim F. Escalona said. “My office, along with our law enforcement partners, will work to ensure that our schools are always safe for our children.”

Pope previously plead guilty to three counts of transmission of obscene material to a minor, according to the FBI.

Pope was a graphics art teacher and baseball coach at G.W. Carver High School in Birmingham at the time of the crime, according to the FBI.

According to the FBI, investigation revealed that in March 2020, Pope sent a message to a minor on Facebook. During the chats with the minor, “Pope engaged the minor in sexually explicit conversations and sent the minor obscene images.”

“Pope betrayed the trust granted to him in his position as a teacher and now will pay the consequences for his actions,” FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge Felix A. Rivera-Esparra said. “The public can rest assured that the FBI will always be vigilant in pursuing those who choose to prey on our most vulnerable, especially our children.”

Pope will have three years of supervised release following his prison term, he will also have to register as a sex offender.