Salt Lake County Jail
Michael Scott Hatfield

WEST JORDAN — A former West Valley middle school teacher pleaded no contest Thursday to having a scrapbook at school containing images he had cut and pasted together to form child pornography.

Michael Scott Hatfield, 59, of Midvale, entered no contest pleas to four counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony, and three counts of accessing pornographic or indecent material on school property, a class A misdemeanor.

The former American Preparatory Academy teacher had originally faced seven exploitation charges. The remaining three counts have been dismissed, court documents indicate.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 1. The felony charges carry a potential prison term of one to 15 years, while the misdemeanor offenses are punishable by up to a year in jail.

As part of the plea, Hatfield also admitted he was the owner of two scrapbooks seized during the investigation and agreed to relinquish his rights to them.

After Hatfield was ordered to stand trial on the charges late last year, his attorney, Heather Chesnut, filed a motion in December seeking to quash the bindover on the four charges of sexual exploitation of a minor. It did not address the charges alleging Hatfield had inappropriate material on school property.

According to the motion, Hatfield disputes whether the images — composites of pornographic images of adults placed with images of clothed and unclothed children from art books and photographs — do not amount to child pornography because they don't show minors engaged in sexual acts.

Third District Judge Douglas Hogan went on to deny the motion in March, saying that the images were "created, adapted or modified" to depict sexually explicit content involving minors.

A handwritten note on Hatfield's plea form filed last week indicates he is appealing the judge's ruling.

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Hatfield was arrested and charged last May after a surveillance employee at American Preparatory Academy, 3636 W. 3100 South, observed him "covering the camera inside his classroom," charging documents state. He was placed on leave from the school within hours.

A school surveillance employee reviewed the video and observed Hatfield produce a black bag from his desk before blocking the lens, court documents say, but audio was recorded. The employee believed the teacher was masturbating.

School administrators found two "albums" of child pornography in the bag and called West Valley police, who served a warrant and found the scrapbooks and a pornographic DVD, a police affidavit states.