New child porn charges brought against former Prince George’s County school aide

WASHINGTON — The man at the center of a child sex abuse investigation in Prince George’s County is now facing federal child pornography charges and has been indicted on a battery of state sexual abuse charges, officials announced Tuesday.

Deonte Carraway, 22, once a volunteer aide at a county elementary school, now faces eight counts of manufacturing child pornography in U.S. District Court. If convicted of all eight charges, he would face a mandatory minimum of 120 years in prison, effectively a life sentence, said U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein.

The federal charges are in addition to six state charges of child sex abuse, various sexual offenses and assault for the abuse of one child. A Prince George’s County grand jury handed down the indictment Tuesday.

State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks pledged to her community, which she said has been ripped apart by the charges and allegations, that she would bring an aggressive investigation and prosecution to “remove this threat from our community forever.”

As many as 17 children have been identified as victims of Carraway. They were abused at four different locations including a school, a municipal building and residences, police have said.

According to federal court documents, Carraway admitted to having pornographic videos. “I really do care for the children,” he said in a written statement to investigators. “I know it was wrong, I’m a bad person, I’m no child of god (sic) for doing this, I know I’m grown … It’s true I directed one video … the rest of the videos the kids recorded their selfs (sic).”

The eight child victims in the federal complaint range in age from 9 to 11, some were in Carraway’s choir, they included both boys and girls. Some of the children told investigators that they were part of a club called “AKA.”

The children were recorded having sex with Carraway or having sex with other children while being prompted or encouraged by Carraway, Rosenstein said.

One of those instances occurred in school. A child was taken out of his class to a dressing room and told to undress. When the child resisted, Carraway threatened to report the child to the police and the school principal.

“That illustrates the evil, really, that we see in these sort of cases,” Rosenstein said. “(He’s) actively trying to undermine the authority figures that typically a child would go to when this sort of thing occurs.”

He said that Carraway abused his position at both the school and as the director of a choir to gain the trust of the children.

Rosentein also said that parents need to keep track of who is in their children’s lives and who they engage with online, and also to warn them about the threat of predators.

“It was the diligence of one alert family member that brought this all to light,” Rosenstein said.

In less than 24 hours of receiving a report of an inappropriate photo found on a child’s phone, county police had arrested Carraway bringing almost two years of abuse to an end and preventing others from becoming victims, he said.

The 17 victims who have been identified are now receiving counseling and other support services to help them cope and recover. And federal investigators urged parents and guardians or other caregivers to call if they suspect their child might have also been a victim.

Extra victims’ advocates have been brought in to work with these children, the FBI said.

In the meantime, the investigation continues, officials said. Investigators are combing through Carraway’s computer and cellphones to determine whether he shared any of the videos and whether he acted alone or had help.

Officials announced the charges Tuesday, a day after Prince George’s County Public Schools announced the creation of a task force to address background checks, training, reporting and other matters pertaining to the prevention of child abuse.

Carraway worked at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School as a volunteer teachers aide, a position that gave him access to the school and its students. Documents filed as part of civil lawsuits against the school system claim that Carraway’s abuse was well known among the students, staff and parents but that no action was taken.

“What was known, what wasn’t known — we don’t have answers to all of those questions yet,” Alsobrooks said of school staff members. In Maryland, school staff are required to report suspected child abuse.

The school’s principal has been placed on administrative leave since Carraway was first arrested earlier this month.

“A great deal of training has already occurred in the school system. So parents should be assured that this matter is being addressed seriously, that new standards for reporting are being formulated now as part of that task force,” said county Police Chief Hank Stawinski.

Anyone with information about the case, Carraway or a suspected victim is asked to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.

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