By Lynh Bui February 23 at 7:46 PM
In one instance, he threatened to take the student to police and the principal if the child didn’t strip, federal authorities allege. In other instances, he told children that they were part of a club before sexually abusing them in their homes.
In all of the cases, investigators say, Deonte Carraway leveraged his position of trust as an elementary school volunteer and choir director to film child pornography or sexually abuse at least 17 children. More victims are expected to be identified.
Authorities announced Tuesday that they filed federal charges against Carraway, 22, a Glenarden resident who police said admitted to filming children engaging in “vile sexual acts.”
Carraway was indicted on eight federal felony counts of child pornography in addition to the 10 felony charges of child pornography and other related sex offenses local authorities filed against him in Prince George’s County about two weeks ago.
The federal complaint against Carraway includes what prosecutors said is an excerpt of his written confession. In it, Carraway said he directed only one video and had the children record the others. He then instructed the children to communicate with him or send images through an anonymous messaging app.
Deonte Carraway. (Prince George’s County Police Department)
“How I get the videos is the kids would send them in the Chat,” Carraway said in a statement to investigators, according to the federal complaint. “I would hide them, but I really do care for the children.”
In some cases, children were instructed to perform sexual acts with each other for Carraway to record, said Rod J. Rosenstein, the U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland, but six of the eight victims identified in the federal complaint were directly abused by Carraway. That complaint describes Carraway engaging in sexual acts with some children in their bedrooms.
One student told police that he received his Kik username from Carraway in the middle of class so they could communicate.
The complaint also alleges that Carraway removed one victim from a class at Judge Sylvania W. Woods Elementary School in Glenarden, took the child to another room in the school and told the child to take off his pants. When the child refused, Carraway said he would contact police and the principal if the child did not undress, the complaint states.
The child then complied and Carraway recorded the child in a sex act, according to the federal complaint.
“It illustrates the evil we see in these sort of cases,” Rosenstein said after announcing the federal charges. “Children are predisposed to trust adults.”
Each federal charge carries a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, a total of 120 years if Carraway is convicted on all eight of those counts, Rosenstein said.
Carraway made videos of children performing sex acts on the campus of Woods Elementary during the school day, police said.
In addition to the school, where Carraway was assigned to be a library volunteer shelving books, the abuse or filming took place in private homes, at the Zion Praise Tabernacle Lutheran Church in Bowie, the Glenarden Municipal Center and the Theresa Banks Memorial Aquatic Center, police said. Carraway was also director of the Glenarden Voices of Youth Choir, police said.
Police said that in as many as 40 videos, Carraway abused or filmed children who were as young as 9.
Carraway distributed phones to his victims to communicate with them, instructed them to record various sexual acts and then collected the phones, according to two individuals familiar with the investigation and the federal complaint.
“For some of the videos the kids used their tablets or cell to send the videos to me and the one at the school was my phone,” Carraway said in a written confession, according to the federal complaint. “I know I’m older and I knew it was wrong because kids don’t know better . . . ”
Angela Alsobrooks, the Prince George’s state’s attorney, said her office will aggressively prosecute Carraway in addition to the federal case against him. “These charges have kept many of us up at night,” Alsobrooks said.
Prince George’s police and FBI investigators have conducted more than 200 interviews and spent more than 3,000 hours on the case, said Chief Hank Stawinski, the county’s police chief.
The case has angered parents, who are demanding to know how Carraway was allowed to be alone with children and whether adults were alerted to any previous concerns.
Carraway is jailed on $1 million bond.
Prince George’s school officials said Tuesday that they will continue to fully cooperate with law enforcement; have created a task force to review policies, procedures and practices; and are retraining central office workers and school staff on procedures for reporting suspected abuse.
“We have pledged our support to the victims and their families, and the safety and welfare of students remains a top priority,” a schools statement said.
Investigators are asking anyone with information about the Carraway case to call 800-CALL-FBI or 301-772-4930.
via Washington post