- The Washington Times - Monday, January 30, 2017

A former Prince George's County school aide pleaded guilty Monday to federal charges of forcing a dozen children to participate in child pornography.

Deonte Carraway, 23, of Glenarden, faces 60 to 100 years in prison after admitting in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt that he coerced children ages 9 to 11 to perform sex acts with himself and with one another.

Carraway was charged with sexually assaulting at least 12 children who attended Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School on campus and outside of school from October 2015 to February last year.

Deonte Carraway abused at least 12 child victims,” U.S. Attorney for Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein said Monday after the hearing. “Fortunately, an alert relative checked a child’s smartphone, found an inappropriate photo and called the police. That call may have prevented more children from being abused.”

Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski said the collaboration between federal and local authorities went smoothly.

Carraway violated the public’s trust by putting himself in a position to harm children. One of the worst crimes a person can commit is when the victim is an innocent child,” Chief Stawinski said Monday.

Prince George's County Schools officials did not respond to questions about how the school system had changed its protocol for reporting sexual abuse or its vetting process for aides as a result of the Carraway case.

Under his plea agreement, Carraway pleaded guilty to 15 federal charges of sexual exploitation of a minor to produce child pornography. He could have faced up to 30 years for each count if he had gone to trial and was convicted.

Carraway’s attorney, federal public defender John Chamble, declined to answer reporters’ questions after the hearing.

The former teacher’s aide was caught in February after the uncle of a 9-year-old boy with whom Carraway had interacted found nude images on the boy’s phone.

According to the plea agreement, Carraway gained the trust of children and their parents through his role at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School in Glenarden. From September 2015 to February, Carraway was an unpaid “dedicated assistant” at the school. He earlier served as a paid teacher’s assistant at the school.

Over a five-month period, Carraway engaged in oral and anal sex with the 12 children and used a cellphone to record them. He also directed children to engage in sex acts with one another. He provided the children with cellphones to record the sex acts and reached out to other children to participate in the videos.

According to the plea agreement, Carraway also admitted to founding a “club” with the children and asked anyone who wanted to join to send him sexually explicit images via the Kik messenger cellphone app.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kristi N. O’Malley said in court that Carraway also broke federal law by using a cellphone to transmit child pornography.

Judge Deborah Chasanow, who heard Carraway’s guilty plea Monday, must decide whether to accept the plea agreement and the sentencing recommendation from the prosecutors.

Sentencing is set for June 5.

Carraway also faces state charges. Prince George's County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said the state’s case will commence as soon as federal prosecutors finish their case. In June, a grand jury indicted Carraway on 270 criminal counts including child abuse, sex offense and child pornography.

Ms. Alsobrooks said she structured the charges so that no children will have to appear in court to testify against Carraway. She said video evidence, as well as several cellphones used by the former teacher’s aide, would be enough to convict him.

The state’s graphic 116-page indictment said Carraway “threatened, pressured, enticed, and/or coerced children” into having sex with him and one another.

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