GREENBELT, Md. - A former Prince George’s County school volunteer accused of using his position to produce child pornography and sexually abusing minors pleaded not guilty to federal charges on Friday.
Deonte Carraway has been arraigned on 13 federal counts of sexual exploitation of a minor to produce child pornography. State and federal prosecutors say he has admitted to making cell phone videos of children he directed and threatened into performing sexual acts on other children and himself.
But in court on Friday, the former teacher’s assistant at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School has admitted to nothing.
The 19-minute hearing was the first time we have heard Carraway speak in open court in front of a judge. His only response to the judge when asked questions if he understood the charges were "Yes sir." He said that again and again more than ten times in total.
This federal case includes 13 charges covering eleven of Carraway's victims. However, in all, investigators say 17 victims have been identified and more charges may be pending.
There is also a state investigation underway and prosecutors on both sides say they are working together.
The scene inside the courtroom as you imagine was extremely tense. Carraway sat in an orange prison jumpsuit and his blond shock of dyed hair has begun to grow out.
The rows of seats were filled with his victims’ families – many of them crying, shaking their heads or staring directly at Carraway.
The mother of one victim, who asked us not to use her name, spoke about what it was like come face-to-face with the man who allegedly abused her child.
“He has done a lot of damage,” she said. “Again, I don't even know what to say. But he's done a lot of damage.”
She added, “This is my first time seeing him. I don't know how I'm going to react. I don’t know what I want to see. I'm just glad he is locked away and he's not hurting these babies anymore.”
Carraway effectively faces a life sentence if convicted of these charges. He is being held on $1 million bond.
Carraway’s public defenders made the move of not asking for bail, so he has been returned to jail.
So far, no trial date has been set.