The Lincolnshire Echo has wrongly identified a primary school teacher as a man who pleaded guilty to sending a picture text message of his genitals to a 14-year-old girl.
The Echo published the picture of the teacher David Mawson next to a court report about a police community support officer with the same name under the headline "PCSO sent indecent photos to girl, 14".
Louth magistrates heard the man sent the pictures to the girl he met via an internet chat room before getting her to send him a picture of her breasts.
Police found 12 naked images on the accused man's computer, seven of him exposing himself.
A freelance journalist covering the court case rang the Echo to see if it had a file picture of the man and the paper found a picture of the teacher at a school book day dressed up as a sailor.
It was emailed to the reporter in court who believed the man to be the accused and no further checks were made.
Executive councillor for children's services at Lincolnshire County Council, Patricia Bradwell, said: "This is a travesty. A man's career, reputation and life have been put at risk because of sloppy journalism. Newspapers need to check and recheck facts before going to print. It is right that the Echo will print an apology."
Teacher David Mawson has yet to take legal action against the paper.
Echo editor John Grubb, who refused to comment, printed two apologies in the paper, saying: "We incorrectly used a photograph of David Mawson, a teacher at Millfield Community Primary School in Heighington.
"Mr Mawson, the teacher, has absolutely no connection with this case and we apologise unreservedly for any distress this may have caused."