Breaking News
More () »

Former Jacksonville elementary school teacher sentenced to 7 years in prison

Thomas Hazouri Jr., former second-grade teacher and coach at Mayport Elementary, had previously pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The video attached to this story is from a previous, related report.

A former second-grade teacher and coach at Mayport Elementary was sentenced to more than seven years in prison for possessing and distributing images of child sexual exploitation.

Thomas Hazouri, Jr. was sentenced to 87 months in prison and must pay $18,000 in restitution. He will also have to be a registered sex offender for life.

He was charged in federal court in 2020. The indictment said that in addition to possessing hundreds of images of children being sexually exploited by adults, Hazouri, now 42, also had non-sexual, but still concerning, photos of students in his classroom.

He pleaded guilty to the charges last year, but his sentencing was repeatedly delayed. He has been in federal custody since September 2020.

Hazouri’s attorney had argued for a downward departure from federal sentencing guidelines, which call for a prison sentence of 12 to 15 years.

In a sentencing memorandum, his attorney cited years of drug abuse and mental illness as reasons underlying his crime. “The best description of Mr. Hazouri’s adolescent and adult life was that he lived a life which had to be ‘perfect’ on the outside no matter what demons were assailing him. He led a private life of drug addiction and then child pornography, always knowing that if he were caught, the public criticism of his family would be devastating.”

Hazouri is the son of the late Jacksonville City Councilmember and former Jacksonville Mayor Tommy Hazouri. 

The sentencing memorandum also included several letters attesting to his character. "These are not letters from his father's supporters," his lawyer wrote. "These people write from their firsthand knowledge of Mr. Hazouri. More importantly they write knowing that the offense for which Mr. Hazouri stands convicted is, to many people, as offensive as any conduct possible, yet each shows a willingness to stand by Mr. Hazouri because of the person each knew and believed in."



Before You Leave, Check This Out