PGCPS volunteer arrested in child porn investigation

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Deonte Carraway, 22, of Glenarden, Md., is charged with 10 counts of felony child pornography and related sex charges in connection with 40 recordings involving at least 10 children

An elementary school volunteer and youth choir director faces charges in Prince George’s County after allegedly making pornographic videos involving children, communicating with many of the victims through an anonymous messaging app popular among teens.

Deonte Carraway, 22, of Glenarden, Md., is charged with 10 counts of felony child pornography and related sex charges in connection with 40 recordings involving at least 10 children ranging from 9 to 13 years old, charging documents state.

Carraway can be seen or heard in some of the videos directing the children to perform certain acts for his cellphone camera, according to Prince George’s police. And in at least one case, a student is recorded performing a sex act on Carraway in a school bathroom while he recorded it on his orange phone, according to charging documents.

“We believe that Carraway targeted his young victims and videotaped vile sexual acts during the school day, on school grounds,” Prince George’s police spokeswoman Julie Parker said.

The recording and sex abuse occurred during the school day at Judge Sylvania W. Woods Elementary School in Glenarden, where Carraway worked as a paid assistant before becoming a volunteer teacher’s aide, police said. The recordings also occurred at Glenarden Municipal Center, the Theresa Banks Memorial Aquatic Center and in private homes, police said.

 Many videos were shot in a room at the school, and detectives are investigating how Carraway was able to get the children alone during the school day, said Maj. Robert Brewer, head of the Prince George’s criminal investigations division.

The investigation into Carraway started when the uncle of a student found a nude photo on the child’s cellphone sent through the Kik messaging app, police said. The uncle notified police, leading detectives to Carraway and the videos. Carraway admitted his involvement to detectives after his arrest, police said.

“The application Kik is something that is commonly used with kids to communicate with each other. And it’s something parents need to be cautious of and review their kids’ usage of the application to see if he communicated with them,” Brewer said. “That’s how they were relaying the images and video back and forth.”

Carraway’s family could not be reached for immediate comment, and it was unclear whether he has an attorney.

A spokesman for Kik said the company could not comment on specific cases but offered a statement: “Kik cooperates with law enforcement to combat child predators anywhere in the world. We are in frequent dialogue with law enforcement authorities to further ensure that our channels of cooperation are as open as they can be while respecting user ­privacy.”

School officials in Prince George’s expressed shock about the allegations against Carraway and said they would cooperate fully with law enforcement authorities in the investigation.

“The safety of our students is a top priority,” they said in a ­statement.

 Carraway’s work in Prince George’s schools dates back more than a year. School officials said he worked as a school secretary at Glenarden Woods Elementary School in November 2014, before moving to Judge Sylvania W. Woods Ele­mentary, where he was a classroom assistant from November 2014 to September 2015. Since then, he has worked at Sylvania Woods on a volunteer basis.

Carraway was also the director for the Glenarden Voices of Youth Choir.

School officials did not have information Monday about the nature of his volunteer work at Sylvania Woods. He lost his paid position as a result of budget constraints, said schools spokeswoman Sherrie Johnson. His change of status at Sylvania Woods had nothing to do with the case, she said.

Every employee hired by Prince George’s goes through a screening process and a criminal background check, Johnson said. The school system will make crisis team staff and school counselors available to students as part of their recovery process, she said.

Videos found on Carraway’s phone varied from eight-second clips to segments of a little more than a minute and featured boys and girls, according to charging ­documents.

The videos were being made since at least the start of 2015, police said. The investigation is continuing, and more charges could be filed against Carraway if more victims emerge, police said.

“These are complex investigations, and it is hard to tell where it will lead, but that is the work before us now,” Prince George’s Police Chief Hank ­Stawinski said.

Brewer said there may be more victims than the 10 detectives had identified so far.

“This investigation is just the beginning,” Brewer said. “He’s had contact with a lot of kids in the community, and we’re looking for community members to come forward.”

Police are asking parents who suspect their child is a victim to call 301-772-4930.

Carraway was arrested Friday and is being held on a $1 million bond.

Justin Jouvenal contributed to this report.

Via Washington Post 

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Toddler’s father charged for PGCPS murder of child, child’s mother

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PRINCE GEORGE — The father of a toddler has been arrested and charged for the Tuesday murder of his child and the child’s mother in Fort Washington.

Daron Boswell-Johnson was charged Tuesday according to the Prince George’s County Police.

Boswell-Johnson allegedly shot and killed 26-year-old Neshante Alesha Davis and 2-year-old Chloe Nichole Davis-Green Tuesday.

Neshante Alesha Davis was a teacher in Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS).

The man was ruled Davis-Green’s father via a paternity test last fall. A Prince George’s County judge ordered he pay $600 in child support in December 2015.

More details to come.

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NeShante Davis and her daughter, Chloe, were found shot in the parking lot of a townhome community. Photo credit: NBCWashington

Read more 

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Senior Education official collapses after heated four-hour hearing on Hill

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Education Department Chief Information Officer Dr. Danny Harris testifies before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on ‘U.S. Department of Education: Investigation of the CIO’ on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

A senior executive at the U.S. Department of Education who was the target of a four-hour interrogation by members of Congress on Tuesday collapsed after the hearing and was taken by ambulance to George Washington University Hospital.

Danny Harris, 56, the department’s chief information officer, fell ill after he fielded pointed questions and stinging criticism from both Democrats and Republicans on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. A department spokeswoman said Harris was conscious and stable as of late Tuesday afternoon.

The lawmakers’ concerns centered on an inspector general’s investigation that found Harris ran an after-hours car-detailing and home theater installation business that employed two subordinates from his agency and also allegedly accepted payments from other subordinates for the work.

The hearing also examined Harris’s effort to help a relative find work at the department and his close friendship with an agency vendor whose company has been awarded about $10 million in contracts to perform work that falls under the purview of his office.

Harris also failed to report an estimated $10,000 in income from his outside activities on federal disclosure forms and to the Internal Revenue Service, according to federal officials.

 Although Harris told lawmakers that he exercised “poor judgment,” he said that his side work were hobbies, even as he earned money for them and paid subordinates to help him. He also had created business cards and a logo for the business.

“These are hobbies that I enjoyed for the greater part of my life,” said Harris, who joined the agency as a summer intern in 1985 and steadily rose through the ranks. “The employees that wanted to engage me, two of them wanted to learn from me. I am a teacher — that is what I love to do.”

But members of the committee were disbelieving.

They were also infuriated to learn that Harris was not subjected to disciplinary action and received regular $17,000 annual bonuses on top of his yearly salary of $180,000 even as he was being investigated by the inspector general. The bonuses also came during a period when Harris’s department failed to meet federal goals concerning data security.

“Let me tell you what you’re conveying to the American people and, more importantly, to the 4,000 employees of the Department of Education,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.). “You can bend the rules — it’s just a matter of who you are.”

The agency’s inspector general’s office launched an investigation into Harris’s activities in 2011 after receiving anonymous complaints. By 2013, it had confirmed most of the allegations, said Deputy Inspector General Sandra Bruce. The inspector general made a criminal referral to the office of the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, which declined to prosecute, citing the availability of administrative punishments.

But the most that happened to Harris was that he was “counseled” by Acting Secretary of Education John King Jr. and his two predecessors, as well as the agency’s ethics officer.

When a string of lawmakers asked King whether he believed that Harris did anything wrong, he repeatedly said “based on the recommendation of our general counsel, I do not believe there was a violation of regulation, law or policy.”

That mantra seemed to anger members of the committee, who turned their focus to King.

“Outside this bubble of Washington, D.C., the rest of the country would view what Mr. Harris did as a violation of law or regulation,” said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.).

“Your job is not to protect Mr. Harris. It is to set a proper tone, standards of conduct for your agency. . . . You can’t use the shield of relying on the advice of your attorney. It is your job to make the right decision. You made the wrong one.”

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the panel, was more blunt.

“Mr. King, you’ve been given this mantle of trust from the president of the United States, and you’re failing,” he said.

Via Washington Post

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Maryland Teacher, 2-Year-Old Daughter Fatally Shot in Fort Washington

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NeShante Davis and her daughter, Chloe, were found shot in the parking lot of a townhome community. Photo credit: NBCWashington

A beloved teacher and her 2-year-old daughter died Tuesday after they were found shot outside their home in Fort Washington, Maryland, officials say.

NeShante Davis, 26, and her daughter, Chloe Davis-Green, were found about 7 a.m. in the parking lot of their townhouse on the 1300 block of Palmer Road, Prince George’s County police said.

A witness said he heard yelling and then multiple gunshots. Davis’ body was found right away, next to her car, police said. The injured toddler then was spotted through the tinted windows of her mother’s blue Chevrolet. The toddler was rushed to a hospital, where she died.

Investigators searched for evidence for hours, with the county’s acting police chief and chief prosecutor on the scene to ensure nothing was overlooked.

Davis was a second-grade teacher at Bradbury Heights Elementary School in Capitol Heights, according to the Prince George’s County Educators’ Association. She worked for years as a teacher’s aide at the school and was in the middle of her first year teaching after recently graduating from Bowie State University.

Davis likely was headed to drop Chloe off at day care and then head to work when they were shot, school officials said.

Parent Tiffany Byrd said Tuesday afternoon she was preparing to speak with her son about why he would not see his teacher again.

“I have no idea how he’s responded knowing she won’t be back now and he’ll have a new teacher,” she said.

“Miss Davis was awesome. She really, really helped him to improve a lot,” Byrd said, saying her son had struggled at another school but earned all As and Bs since entering Davis’ class.

The father of a student at the school wiped away tears as he spoke about Davis.

“It really hurt me. The school called this morning,” Erik Hines said. “Miss Davis was an excellent teacher.”

Counselors were available at the school Tuesday to help students and staff members coping with the tragedy.

Court records show Davis and Chloe’s father were involved late last year in a paternity and child support action. It’s unclear whether that dispute had any connection to the killing.

A prayer vigil for NeShante and little Chloe was scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Community Temple Bibleway Church in Cheverly, Maryland.

Davis’ lifelong pastor and family friend rushed to the crime scene to offer comfort to family members who who looked on in disbelief.

“Whoever it is, they need to be caught and penalized to the fullest,” he said.

Anyone who may have seen or heard something in the area about 7 a.m. is asked to call police at 1-866-411-TIPS.

Read more>>> NBC4

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Davis was a second-grade teacher at Bradbury Heights Elementary School in Capitol Heights, according to the Prince George’s County Educators’ Association.

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Pr. George’s community opposes Forestville High School’s closure

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When Sharon “Grandma” Sims heard Forestville High School might close, she rallied her troops.

A longtime advocate of the high school — which from 2002 to 2013 was the state’s first publicly funded military academy — Sims delivered marching orders via text and email, urging Forestville’s platoon of committed graduates and parents to complain to Prince George’s County school officials.

The head of the county school board said Forestville could be closed at the end of this school year as the county grapples with underperforming schools, declining enrollment and significant renovation needs. A consultant’s report said the county should close 29 of its 198 schools by 2035. A subsequent master plan written by the school system said officials should consider closing up to eight schools by fall 2018.

Forestville has fewer than 800 students, and keeping it open would be an inefficient use of resources, county officials said. They also said it could jeopardize state funding for nearby Suitland High School, which is slated for major renovations. But closure would be a blow to the proud inner-Beltway neighborhood that surrounds the high school.

“This is more than just a school, it’s a family,” 2010 graduate Paul Cruz said during a meeting last week in the school cafeteria. About 50 parents, graduates and students attended to denounce the possible closure, which schools chief Kevin Maxwell revealed at a series of community meetings last month.

Maxwell said the 2015 report from the consulting firm Brailsford & Dunlavey found that about half of Prince George’s schools are more than 40 years old and in dire need of major updates to critical systems, such as plumbing, heating and air conditioning.

With state funding for schools shrinking, the county said it does not have the money to meet every need and has to make choices. Schools in the northern corner of the county — Hyattsville, Laurel and Beltsville — are overcrowded, while many inner-Beltway and southern-area schools are underused, with low enrollment.

With state funding for schools shrinking, the county said it does not have the money to meet every need and has to make choices. Schools in the northern corner of the county — Hyattsville, Laurel and Beltsville — are overcrowded, while many inner-Beltway and southern-area schools are underused, with low enrollment.

The school system’s Department of Capital Programs put together a master plan, which recommended closing one of three high schools in the near future — Forestville, Friendly or Frederick Douglass — along with seven other schools: Capitol Heights Elementary, Clinton Grove Elementary, Concord Elementary, Mattaponi Elementary, Seat Pleasant Elementary, Skyline Elementary and Tanglewood Regional Special Education School.

“Given the magnitude of the unfunded capital improvement needs in the district, maximizing state participation is extremely important,” school officials said in a statement. “Efficient utilization of our existing schools is a factor that the state looks at to determine when and where to fund school construction.”

School system spokeswoman Sherrie Johnson said officials are focusing on closing Forestville because of their desire to secure state school construction dollars for other buildings. The school system’s master plan specifically mentions 60-year-old Suitland, which is two miles away and houses a performing arts program and an international baccalaureate program.

Forestville students could be divided between Potomac and Suitland high schools, according to the master plan. Maxwell is seeking public comment and is expected to present his proposal to board members Thursday and make a final decision next month.

“There is nothing set in stone,” Johnson said. But “we feel that the cost of inaction is great.”

Shuttering Forestville would be the second blow to the community, after county education officials in 2013 ended an experiment that had turned the long-troubled secondary school into a military academy. Students from the neighborhood and across the county wore military-style uniforms and participated in drills and JROTC classes.

While many parents seemed to love the discipline the school instilled in their children, the changes did not necessarily translate into higher test scores or graduation rates.

The community introduced after-school mentoring and tutoring, Sims said. Neighborhood residents, school families and graduates took pride in Forestville’s award-winning drill teams, championship athletic teams and two Gates Millennium scholars.

But Prince George’s school officials decided to convert the academy back into a typical high school in 2013, giving students the choice between classic instruction and enrolling in specialty “career academy” programs in military sciences and homeland security.

Johnson, the schools spokeswoman, said neighborhood students overwhelmingly chose to participate in the traditional high school program.

“The structure changed. Enrollment went down. Our school spirit changed,” said Andy Michel, who graduated in 2013 and earned a full scholarship to Claflin University in Orangeburg, S.C. “I don’t think they ever gave Forestville a chance.”

At the meeting last week, other graduates told their stories to state Sen. Ulysses Currie and Dels. Darryl Barnes and Dereck E. Davis, all Prince George’s County Democrats. Warren Christopher, a candidate in the Democratic primary to succeed Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.), was there, too.

“This school changed my life,” said 2013 graduate Emane Boyd, adding that she had been getting into “a lot of trouble” before enrolling there.

Kendric Hilliard, 23, said the academy protected him and his classmates. “I only lost one friend in my 23 years,” said Hilliard, who is now a sergeant in the Army. “I have no RIP shirts in my closet — thanks to Forestville.”

Sims, who is acting president of the parent-teacher association, said Forestville has seen more behavior problems since the military academy has closed. In early 2015, a teacher was assaulted by a student.

About 1,200 people have signed her Change.org petition calling for Forestville to once again become a full military academy. Sims said she would personally take responsibility for recruiting and increasing enrollment if that happened.

“If we are given the opportunity, I stake my life . . . that I will bring them in,” Sims said. “When you come to our house, you will find the finest of the finest.”

Davis, who is running for Congress, said he plans to communicate the community’s concerns to Maxwell. “Schools are part of the fabric of any community,” he said. “There’s no school you can close that won’t cause some kind of angst.”

via Washington Post

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Prince George’s County Activist Killed in Car Crash

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Mr. Greg Hall

Businessman and Prince George’s County community activist Gregory Hall died Monday after a car crash in Capitol Heights, Maryland.

Hall, 45, was driving on the 8700 block of Walker Mill Road about 2:50 a.m. when an SUV smashed into his car, Prince George’s County police said according to the information received via Washington Post.

According to a preliminary investigation, a driver in an SUV headed eastbound veered into oncoming traffic, striking Hall’s westbound car heads on. The SUV then sideswiped a third vehicle, police said.

Hall was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

The driver of the SUV remained at the scene. Investigators are looking into whether alcohol or the driver’s speed was a factor.

The Democratic Central Committee nominated Hall for the Maryland 24th District delegate seat in 2012, but that selection came under question because of drug and gun charges Hall faced decades ago after he was accused of being a drug dealer.

“Hall believed in second chances and wanted everyone to have the same opportunity to get ahead in life,” State Sen. Victor Ramirez (D-Prince George’s) told The Washington Post. “Greg was special and he was going to advocate for what he believed in … In his own way, he pushed all of us to be better.”

Before Mr. Hall passed on, he spoke strongly about the cartels which denied him a second chance within the state court system to be a state delegate after former Governor Martin O’Malley appeared to have influenced the court while Mr. O’Malley appeared to have been engaged in public corruption himself. It is a shame for this to happen now. He seemed to have gotten his life together and was a guiding light to young men in the community.

Reform Sasscer movement secretariat is shocked and saddened by his passing. Mr. Hall was a husband and father and married to a Prince George’s County Public Schools – (PGCPS) Principal. He has young children in the school system. Therefore, He was also a PGCPS parent. Condolences to the family and friends. This is truly a Horrible tragedy.

Anyone with information on the crash is asked to call police at 301-731-4422.

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HANDOUT PHOTO: Prince George’s political activist Gregory Hall, left, with Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) at a political rally at Prince George’s Community College in 2010. At the time, Hall was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for a seat in the House of Delegates, representing District 24. Hall came in second in the primary, behind Tiffany Alston. (Courtesy of Larry Stafford ).

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PGCPS Oxon Hill alumna makes Forbes ’30 Under 30′

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LOS ANGELES – Dr.  Constance Iloh recalls seeing Forbes magazine on newsstands when she was a little girl growing up in Prince George’s County.

Now, Iloh can see herself in it.

The education scholar, who received the prestigious UC (University of California) Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Program Fellowship at the University of California, Irvine, never thought that at 28 years old her name would be included among 600 of the brightest young entrepreneurs, breakout talents and change agents in 20 different sectors.

Iloh, who currently lives in Los Angeles, was recognized by Forbes magazine as one of “30 Under 30” in the education category. Several colleagues and established figures in her field reportedly nominated her for this honor.

“I just thank God, not only for this opportunity, but just the journey that has led to this point,” Iloh said. “I feel extremely blessed. I also feel very grateful for my family, friends, mentors and colleagues that have supported me for so long and have believed in the quality of my work and the contributions that I have made. I was the only education scholar/academic to make that list, so I feel especially honored in that regard.”

Iloh pursued undergraduate studies at University of Maryland, College Park (UMD) from 2005 through 2009 as a Gates Millennium Scholar (GMS). The elite, private scholarship program for outstanding minority students is administered through the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Iloh then earned a master’s degree in business management from Wake Forest University in 2010 and a Ph.D from the University of Southern California (USC) in Urban Education Policy in May of 2015.

As a researcher, Iloh’s current agenda addresses the changing landscape of higher education and how it impacts underserved communities, particularly low-income students, students of color and post-traditional students, which often includes working adults. A large amount of her research has examined the privatization of higher education and the emergence of for-profit colleges and the impacts on underserved student groups.

Iloh first became interested in how underserved communities access higher education when she became a GMS. She became passionate about the topic while attending UMD, where she was a research assistant in psychology labs. Iloh explained that she always wanted to be a researcher and earn a Ph.D, although she did not become aware it was possible to earn one for examining and studying higher education until attending business school at Wake Forest.

“While I was at Wake Forest, I realized the pursuit of knowledge, and research particularly, was what I loved the most. A business degree is more practical and I really yearned for the philosophical underpinnings that openly piqued my curiosity, so I knew then that I needed to be in a Ph.D. program,” Iloh said. “I already knew people could get a Ph.D. in education, but I later realized people were advancing and doing substantial work in the area of higher education and post-secondary education. So I started applying for a number of Ph.D programs and I got into my top program, which is USC. I moved to California and started the dream.”

While crediting individuals who supported her throughout her journey, Iloh highlighted her family as a collective. She said her mother, Mercy, has been a cheerleader. Additionally, she described Jackie Iloh as the epitome of a caring big sister who wants her three siblings to have the best of everything. She explained that Jackie told her to apply for the Gates Millennium Scholarship and empowered her with information about higher education.

Since their parents emigrated from Nigeria, they did not have first-hand knowledge regarding American college-going. Jackie, who now resides in Boston, was a rising junior when Iloh was an incoming freshman at UMD.

Jackie is happy that her sister is being acknowledged for the wonderful work that she is doing.

“She has always worked really hard,” Jackie said. “I think she has always thought about how she can use her gifts to best support other people and I think the research she is doing is going to give the underrepresented students and people a voice they deserve to have on a larger platform. So I am proud of her for maintaining her drive and for continuously working hard.”

Jackie said she also her sister to be a game changer.

“I think there is a pull for quantitative data she found a way to highlight the wonderful work that qualitative research can bring,” Jackie said. “In doing so, she has created a voice for students, and created a narrative, as far as how a lot of people select what kind of college they are going to go to. I think she is changing the way in which we talk about higher education. We usually think of higher education as students going directly from high school to college, but she is showing that there are growing numbers of people who wait and go later and go to for-profit universities.”

Iloh’s forthcoming book about for-profit college-going in the 21st century will be published by the Johns Hopkins University Press.

Visit www.constanceiloh.com to receive future updates about Iloh’s endeavors.

Via Prince George’s County sentinel

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