DOVER – A former First State Military Academy instructor received 2 1/2 years in prison Tuesday for dealing in child pornography and unlawful sexual contact with an underage female cadet on school grounds earlier this year.
Troy T. McQueen, a Smyrna resident and former United States Marine who earlier pleaded guilty, will serve 18 months Level III probation upon release. He has been held by the Delaware Department of Correction since June 26.
Before issuing the sentence, Superior Court Judge Jeffrey J. Clark pointed to McQueen violating his responsibility to protect the safety and well being of a child under his charge at the Clayton-based school. The Court ordered the mandatory minimum two year sentence for the child porn charge and the “upper end” six months of sentencing guidelines for the unlawful sexual contact.
While McQueen, 41 years old when arrested, did admit responsibility for his acts quickly after investigation, the judge believed the 17-year-old girl would be negatively impacted in a “significant and long-lasting” way due to the incident. The defendants military service to the country and character reference letters were also considered before sentencing, the judge said.
In asking for a three-year prison sentence, Deputy Attorney General Kathleen Dickerson said the “relationship was much more involved than what was portrayed” in a pre-sentence investigation and noted days of text messages and “quite graphic” descriptions on what McQueen was looking to do with the girl. The DOJ said McQueen had nude photographs of the girl on his cell phone.
A father of two, McQueen “should have known better,” according to Ms. Dickerson, especially with his military background, and despite claiming he did not know the child’s age.
“There were three separate incidents of sexual contact in the school,” she said.
Standing before the Court, McQueen expressed “My deepest regret for my actions” and apologized to anyone hurt by them.
“I definitely should have known better,” he said, describing the relationship as “out of my character” and “deeply embarrassing.”
Prior to sentencing, defense attorney Kathleen K. Amalfitano said McQueen “is taking responsibility and understands he did have a responsibility as the instructor, the supervisor” of the student.
The Delaware Department of Justice said the contact took place between January and February.
Lorraine Freese assisted Ms. Dickerson in the prosecution.
McQueen must register as a low risk Tier II sex offender and have no contact with anyone under age 18 other than his children, among other conditions. He faced a maximum sentence of 28 years in prison, according to the DOJ.
In a news release in February, FSMA Commandant Patrick R. Gallucci said a Marine instructor later identified as McQueen “was removed from the building and FSMA has dismissed the instructor.”
Level III probation is classified as intensive supervision that “entails at least the equivalent of one hour of supervision per day and no more than 56 hours of supervision per week,” according to the Delaware Bureau of Community Corrections.
“The minimum of one hour of supervision per day is achieved through direct offender contact, collateral contact, verification of each offender’s activities (e.g., residence, employment, training and school), and performance with court-ordered treatment and Community Service. The emphasis is on supervision through increased community contacts.”