Principal placed on leave; FBI assisting in school volunteer child porn investigation

- On Wednesday, the principal of a school where a volunteer allegedly took videos of children performing sex acts, was placed on administrative leave.

This announcement came a day after the FBI joined in the investigation into 22-year-old Deonte Carraway who faces charges of producing child pornography and child sexual abuse.

Prince George’s County police said Carraway took videos of children performing the sex acts on each other and that it happened during the school day on school grounds.

Police also say Carraway used his phone installed with the Kik messaging app to record children as young as 9 years old. Some of the videos were filmed at his direction while Carraway is a participant in others.

One of the videos is shot inside a bathroom at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School in Glenarden.

Police have been onto Carraway since last Thursday night and have expanded the investigation to include the FBI.

In a news release, the FBI said:

"The FBI Maryland Child Exploitation Task Force and the Prince George’s County Police Department are investigating an elementary school volunteer and community choir director for producing child pornography and child sexual abuse.  Prince George’s County Police detectives arrested 22-year-old Deonte Carraway on February 5, after a victim’s relative found a nude photo on the child’s phone.  The FBI has set up its hotline 1-800-CALL-FBI for anyone to use if they believe they know a victim, or have any information that may help investigators in this case.

"Investigators say the suspect targeted victims and videotaped sexual acts between minors during the school day at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School in Glenarden.  They  believe sex abuse and/or child pornography was also produced at the Glenarden Municipal Center, Theresa Banks Memorial Aquatic Center as well as in private homes.

"If you or anyone you know is concerned about a possible victim in this case, you are asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324).  You may also call the Prince George’s County Police Departments’s Child and Vulnerable Adult Abuse Unit at 301-772-4930."

"At this point, we know there are at least ten victims,” said Prince George’s County police spokesperson Julie Parker. “Our concern is that number could grow and could grow by a large amount. We don't know that yet. We are not there yet and that is why there is so much time and resources devoted to this – to figure out how big of an investigation we are dealing with.”

According to a source familiar with the investigation, Carraway came to the city of Glenarden in 2014 and asked if he could start a choir and rehearse inside the Glenarden Municipal Center. It is a choir made up of young children from 9 to 13 years old.

The 22-year-old also did some work with children across the street at the Theresa Banks Memorial Aquatic Center. No one at the center would comment on what exactly Carraway did there.

He was also a volunteer at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School and lived in Glenarden with his mother at an apartment on Glenarden Parkway.

"We have received about 20 phone calls from the community, several of them being tips regarding Deonte Carraway,” said Parker.

No one with Prince George's County Public Schools would go on camera on Tuesday. But in a statement, the school system said officials are shocked by the allegations and said, "Employees and volunteers go through a proper screening process.”

Police said Carraway used the Kik messaging app to communicate with the kids and others. A nude photo sent through Kik on a victim's phone was discovered by a relative of the victim and sparked this investigation.

Of the victims in this case, some of them are students at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School. Police said videos were also made at the Glenarden Municipal Center and the Theresa Banks Memorial Aquatic Center.

On Tuesday, many in this Prince George's County school community expressed outrage over this news. It has also become clear that many parents had been concerned about Carraway's behavior towards their children.

One parent at the school told us he has had concerns about Carraway acting overly familiar with kids, especially after his son told him that Carraway had been showing students self-made boxing and mixed martial arts videos on his phone as well as videos of his home.

“Always! You come here around 8 p.m. and he's always around 7-Eleven, always doing something,” said Neftali Ardueta. “He’s telling my kid, ‘Oh, you can come to my church,' and I’m like, 'You are not going to his church.'

Throughout the day on Tuesday, there was a constant police presence at the elementary school. A Prince George’s County Public Schools spokesperson said that the school’s vice principal asked for that added security after the media arrived on school property.

But all of the media got an earful from parents wanting to know how a man in their own child’s school was allegedly able to produce child pornography here without anyone knowing about it until Carraway's arrest. They said they are upset, hurt and worried that the ten victims identified so far may just be the start.

"I had to talk to my child to make sure that my children understand that if something were to happen to them, make sure they tell,” said Riva Thomas. “And that's not a conversation I don’t think we are supposed to have in school.”

"It's sad and heartbreaking that kids have to keep going through this,” said another parent. “And as parents, we have to step up and be more aware of what our kids are doing.”

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