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.
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.”
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 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.
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