PGCPS volunteer in child-porn case pleads not guilty in federal court

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Deonte Carraway, 22,

An elementary school volunteer arrested on charges of producing child pornography pleaded not guilty Friday to 13 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor to produce child pornography during his first appearance in federal court.

A federal grand jury indicted Deonte Carraway, 22, on Monday after authorities said he admitted to filming children performing sex acts on one another at his direction. Carraway, of Glenarden, faces related felony charges filed in Maryland.

Carraway’s initial appearance and arraignment Friday was the first time family members of children in the case have seen him since he was arrested in early February. He entered the courtroom shortly before 2 p.m. wearing an orange jumpsuit and escorted by U.S. marshals.

Tears rolled down the cheeks of women sitting in the audience after Carraway stepped in with his hands shackled and the right side of his hair styled in a bleached high top. A victim coordinator for the court rose to hand the women tissues before the proceedings.

The defendant spoke only to respond to the judge’s questions, leaning in to a microphone to mostly answer, “Yes, sir.”

After the nearly 30-minute proceeding, Carraway was taken out of the courtroom.

His public defender declined to comment on the matter, as did officials with the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland.

Carraway’s case has shocked Prince George’s County, leaving parents wondering how a library volunteer tasked with shelving books two days a week was able to, as police have said, be alone with students and record and abuse them on school grounds during the school day.

Carraway victimized at least 17 children between the ages of 9 and 13, police said. In addition to his alleged actions at Judge Sylvania W. Woods Elementary School, where Carraway worked before becoming a volunteer, police said he abused or recorded children at the Glenarden municipal center, a public pool, a church in Bowie and in private homes.

Law enforcement officials said Carraway handed out phones to children and communicated with them via an anonymous messaging app called Kik to exchange and collect explicit images of them. He told the children they were part of a club and pulled them out of class to exploit them, police said.

The case was brought to officials’ attention after an uncle of a student checked the child’s phone, found a nude photo and reported the matter to police. That student’s family has sued the school system, and three other lawsuits have been filed in the case, including a class-action suit and a complaint against the city of Glenarden.

One woman who identified herself as the mother of a victim attended Friday’s hearing. She said she wanted to look at Carraway. The woman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to protect her child’s identity, said the case has been emotionally difficult for her and her family.

“I’m just glad he is locked away and not hurting these babies anymore,” the woman said.

Via Washington Post

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