An elementary school volunteer charged with creating child pornography during school hours and on school grounds distributed phones to his victims to communicate with them, according to three individuals familiar with the investigation.
Deonte Carraway, 22, instructed the children to take photos or videos of various sexual acts and collected the phones at the end of the day, said the individuals, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak freely about the ongoing case.
Two of those individuals also said Carraway would tell the children to whom he gave phones that they were part of a “club.”
The detail about the phones emerged as Prince George’s County officials confirmed that John Brooks, who has served as an interim administrator at several county schools, has been appointed acting principal at Judge Sylvania W. Woods Elementary School, where police say Carraway abused and made videos of victims.
Schools officials have said Carraway served as a volunteer shelving library books at the Maryland school.
Brooks’s appointment was effective Friday, but school officials declined to release the letter sent to families about the change, saying officials wanted parents to have the information before it was shared with news media.
Police charged Carraway, of Glenarden, Md., on Feb. 5 with 10 counts of felony child pornography. Authorities have identified 17 children between 9 and 13 years old whom Carraway abused or recorded performing “vile sexual acts,” police said. He has been connected to about 40 videos, police said.
Carraway also victimized children at Zion Praise Tabernacle Lutheran Church, the Glenarden Municipal Center and the Theresa Banks Memorial Aquatics Center, police said. Carraway admitted to creating the videos, and the victim count is likely to grow, police said. Carraway is being held on a $1 million bond.
The case has angered parents, who want school officials to answer questions about how Carraway was supervised and why he had sufficient access to children to allow him to perpetrate the alleged crimes.
The case also has prompted two civil lawsuits against the Prince George’s County school board.
“Carraway was able to openly entice these children to perform sexual acts openly on school property because of the complete absence of any supervision and oversight of his conduct or behavior involving these children,” says a lawsuit filed by Maryland attorneys Timothy Maloney and David Simpson.
Maloney said lawyers have “heard from a significant number of other victims” since the lawsuits were filed last week.
Brooks is filling in for the Sylvania Woods principal, Michelle Williams, who has held the post for 10 years. Williams was placed on paid administrative leave out of “an abundance of caution” after Carraway’s arrest, school system officials said last week.
According to 2014 news reports, Brooks filled in at another county school — Dwight D. Eisenhower Middle School in Laurel — after an alleged punching incident involving a principal. Two years earlier, he stepped in at Ernest E. Just Middle School in Mitchellville after a principal resigned.
Investigators are asking anyone with information about the Carraway case to call 800-CALL-FBI or 301-772-4930.
Via Washington Post