Texas Attorney General: Man arrested on 6 counts of child pornography possession
A 22-year-old Adkins man was arrested Thursday for allegedly having multiple images of child pornography, including at least one image of a 10-year-old girl, the Office of the Texas Attorney General said Friday.
Jarrett Ray Dwayne Palitza was formally charged on six counts of possession of child pornography after investigators with the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s Child Exploitation Unit (CEU) conducted a warrant-approved search of his residence in Adkins, which is about 21 miles east of San Antonio.
The CEU became involved initially as assistance to the Sealy Police Department regarding a case of sexual assault of a girl, 10, along with the possibility of a potential possession and distribution of child porn, according to a news release issued Friday.
The search led investigators to Palitza’s home, where child pornography was allegedly discovered. One of the images was of the 10-year-old girl believed to be involved in the Sealy Police Department case, according to the news release.
“One more dangerous individual is off the streets and behind bars thanks to the efforts of the Child Exploitation Unit and the Sealy Police Department,” Paxton said in a news release. “My office will remain steadfast in protecting our children and our communities from the heinous acts of these child predators and continue seeking justice against them.”
UPPER MARLBORO, MD (CN) – A Maryland elementary school choir director persuaded dozens of children to perform sexual acts on camera by telling them they were part of a “club,” a mother claims in a class action.
Jane Doe No. 2 sued the Prince George’s County Board of Education, elementary school principal Michelle Williams, and the alleged molester, teacher assistant Deonte Carraway, on Feb. 11 in Prince George’s County Court.
A second mother, Jane Doe. No. 1, filed a similar complaint, which was not a class action.
Carraway, 22, was arrested on Feb. 6 and charged with 10 counts of felony child pornography and sexual abuse.
He worked for the Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School in Glenarden as a paid teacher’s assistant from November 2014 to September 2015, then as an unpaid volunteer, according to the complaints.
According to the class action, “On multiple occasions, Carraway coerced John Doe No. 2 to engage in sexual acts with him on school property during school hours.”
Carraway also made the boy “engage in sexual acts with him on multiple occasions at the Glenarden Municipal Center” at Friday night choir practice, the mother says.
Carraway scheduled meetings with and sent photos and videos to John Doe 2 through the smartphone app Kik, which allows people to send anonymous photos and messages, Doe’s mother says.
Carraway’s predations began in early 2015 went on until January this year, when another student’s uncle “discovered that Carraway had been communicating with his nephew and other children on Kik,” the complaint states.
“The student’s uncle saw that there were inappropriate pictures of students that were sent through Kik.”
The uncle notified principal Williams on Feb. 4 this year and called police that night, according to the complaint. County police then found four SIM cards from Carraway’s cellphone.
“On just one of the SIM cards, there were at least 44 recordings of sexual acts involving children,” the complaint states.
It continues: “Upon information and belief, on some of the recordings, Carraway can be seen or heard directing the children to perform certain sexual acts.
“Upon information and belief, one of the recordings is of a child performing a sexual act on Carraway in a school bathroom while he recorded the act on his cellphone.
“The obscene recordings on Carraway’s phone range from 8-second clips to videos running over a minute.”
So brazen was Carraway that he would call students out of class and tell them they “would be participating in a ‘club’ with him to help persuade them to engage in these sexual acts on camera,” the complaint states.
His victims were as young as 9, and “the number of victims is at least 10, but it may be as many as 30,” according to the complaint.
Doe’s mom says that Carraway’s sexual abuse was “common knowledge among the students.”
She says that although parents and teachers “expressed concern” about Carraway’s “predatory behavior,” principal Williams took no action, claiming they had “no proof.”
Doe blames the “complete absence of any supervision and oversight of his conduct.”
Doe seeks class certification and damages for Title IX violations, other civil rights violations, violations of Maryland human rights law, negligent supervision, intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, and battery.
She is represented by Timothy Maloney with Joseph, Greenwald & Laake in Greenbelt, who represents Jane Doe No. 1 in her lawsuit against the same defendants.
Attorney Maloney said the criminal and civil cases are just beginning.
“The shocking events at Sylvania Woods Elementary revealed a profound breach of trust,” Maloney said in an email Sunday.
Almost all of the nearly 700 students at Sylvania Woods are black and Latino and/or qualify for free or reduced-price lunch, according to The Washington Post.
Authorities have identified 17 victims so far, 9 to 13 years old, according to the Post.
Principal Williams is on paid leave, and Carraway is being held on a $1 million bond.
It is far from unusual in complaints such as this for parents to claim that school administrators knew of or had reason to know of a teacher’s abuse, but failed to take action.
“Ruining someone’s career can be actionable,” one attorney with knowledge of such cases told Courthouse News. “Failing to ruin someone’s career is less actionable.”
FBI assisting in school volunteer Child Porn
GLENARDEN, MD – 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 Department’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.”
Volunteer charged with videotaping sexual
acts between kids at elementary school
PALMER PARK, MD – Prince George’s County police have arrested a 22-year-old elementary school volunteer for producing videos of young victims performing sex acts on school grounds during the school day.
Deonte Carraway was arrested Friday and is facing 10 counts of felony child pornography, sexual abuse of a minor and second-degree sexual offense.
Police said there are ten known victims discovered so far-ranging from 9 to 13 years old. Detectives found Carraway had about 40 videos showing the victims performing sex acts on each other or alone under his direction. Police also believe Carraway abused some of his victims.
Carraway was a volunteer teacher’s assistant at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School in Glenarden. In the previous 2014-2015 school year, he was also a paid assistant at the school. He was also the director of the Glenarden Voices of Youth Choir.
According to police, the videos were produced at the elementary school as well as the Glenarden Municipal Center, Theresa Banks Memorial Aquatic Center and in private homes.
Police said the arrest was sparked last Thursday by an uncle of a student who discovered a nude photo on his nephew’s cell phone and it had been sent to Carraway through the Kik messaging app.
Carraway has admitted his involvement in the manufacturing and production of child pornography, according to police. They said additional charges are likely as this investigation will likely last several months.
Police are urging other possible victims of this crime to contact their Child and Vulnerable Adult Abuse Unit at 301-772-4930.
Carraway is being held on $1 million bond.
Statement on Deonte Carraway from Prince George’s County Public Schools:
“Prince George’s County Public Schools is shocked by the recent allegations. We will cooperate fully with law enforcement in this investigation. It’s important to note that every PGCPS employee goes through a proper screening process before they are hired. The safety of our students is a top priority for PGCPS. We will have counselors available to help victims in their recovery process.”
More than 2,200 images of Child Pornography found on iPods and thumb drive, some of it showing babies.
A registered sex offender from Arlington TX was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison Tuesday for possessing hundreds of images of child pornography, some of which showed babies.
Steven Lass, 33, pleaded guilty in April to one count of possession of child pornography, according to a release from the U.S. attorney’s office.
In August 2014, Lass was pulled over by a Midlothian police officer who noticed that the passenger seat of Lass’ vehicle was missing. In its place were tools and electronic devices, including two iPods and a thumb drive later found to contain more than 2,200 images of child porn.
The evidence was seized by the FBI, whose investigation revealed “the lewd and lascivious exhibition of the genitals and public are of minors,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Camille Sparks said in a written release.
Lass was required to register as a sex offender after a 2005 arrest in Euless. He was convicted of indecency with a child, an 8-year-old girl, sentenced to nine years and later paroled.