Former Wellesley High School coach pleads guilty to child pornography charge

Walter Johnson, 71, also served as a Harvard University assistant track coach for over two decades.

A former Wellesley High School assistant track coach pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography in federal court Monday, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Walter Johnson, 71, of Framingham, faces up to 20 years in prison; a maximum fine of $250,000; and a minimum of five years and up to a lifetime of supervised release, according to a statement from Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling’s office.

Also a former Harvard University track coach, Johnson was arrested at his home in April 2017 following a months-long investigation, officials said.

Prosecutors said a probe into child pornography trading on Craigslist led investigators to Johnson, then a coach at Wellesley High.


“During a search of Johnson’s home in Framingham, images and videos of child pornography were found on his computer and on a thumb drive hidden in his bedroom,” authorities said in the statement. “He was arrested on scene and subsequently indicted by a federal grand jury.”

Following his arrest, Johnson was immediately terminated from his job at the high school, The Boston Globe reported. Johnson was an assistant coach for indoor and outdoor track teams and served as the head girls’ cross country coach, according to the newspaper.

He previously served as a special education teaching assistant at Wellesley Middle School from 2008 until 2015, the Globe reported. At Harvard University, Johnson was employed as an assistant track coach from 1982 to 2006.

Johnson is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 10.