An elementary school teacher’s aide who routinely recorded himself molesting students was sentenced to 75 years in federal prison Monday.
The Bowie Patch reported that Deonte Carraway, 23, of Glenarden, Maryland, pleaded guilty to 15 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor to produce child pornography. Prosecutors said the 15 counts involved 12 victims ranging from nine to 13 years old. However, WJLA reported that the Glenarden man is said to have victimized more than 20 children.
Prosecutors said the 23-year-old would get access to the kids by offering to walk them to school or check their homework. When the victims resisted his advances, the teacher’s aide threatened to call 911 or inform their parents about their bad behavior, according to The Washington Post.
Carraway was a paid assistant at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School during the 2014-2015 school year and worked as a volunteer teacher’s assistant from September 2015 to February 2016. The Maryland man also acted as director of the Glenarden Voices of Youth Choir.
Prosecutors said one incident involved Carraway instructing a boy and girl to perform explicit acts while he recorded them. The 23-year-old was also accused of exploiting a child with special needs.
Carraway was arrested in February 2016 after a victim’s relative discovered a nude photo on the 9-year-old boy’s phone. Police believed Carraway sent the boy a photo through the Kik messenger app. Despite being convicted on 15 counts, the ex-teacher’s aide was indicted on 270 child abuse- and porn-related charges in June 2016.
EXCLUSIVE: jailhouse interview w/ school volunteer allegedly behind a child porn scandal that's rocked a Prince George's County Elementary School
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On Monday, Carraway told a court—and a handful of his victims—that “kids have my heart, and when I’m around kids I feel like them.” The 23-year-old went later claimed that he didn’t know what he was doing was wrong but would sometimes feel guilty.
“I’m not the monster that people are portraying me to be,” he commented.
Carraway’s comments Monday mirrored the crux of defense attorney John Chamble’s argument: that his client has a child’s mind but a man’s body. Chamble claimed Carraway has a 60 IQ and was also abused in a school setting. The attorney essentially argued that Carraway perpetrated the violent cycle he was subjected to.
“He’s done some monstrous things, but he is not a monster,” Chamble said.
“He’s trapped. He’s confused.”
Prosecutors rejected these claims, alleging that the defendant is a medically-diagnosed pedophile who’s infatuated with children.
“Carraway not only robbed these children of their innocence,” Assistant US Attorney Kristi N. O’Malley said, “he robbed these families of their faith in humanity.”
The sentencing judge appeared to side with the state, having little sympathy for the former teacher’s aide.
“There’s just no way, Mr. Carraway, to restate the magnitude and the enormity of the harm you caused,” US District Court Judge Deborah K. Chasanow said before handing down the lengthy sentence. “You knew it was wrong in some sense and yet you persisted.”
Carraway still faces trial in Prince George’s County stemming from allegations that he abused more than 20 children. The trial is scheduled for September 28.
[Featured Image: Prince George’s County Police Department]