Lawsuit: Elementary School Officials Ignored Warning Signs of Abuse

"You need to check Deonte's phone. There's some things with kids on it, nasty things," a student allegedly told the school

New court documents allege that administrators at a Maryland elementary school ignored warning signs from an aide who was later charged with sex abuse. 

The civil lawsuit focuses on the 15 months before the arrest of Deonte Carraway. Authorities said he made videos of children performing sexual acts with him and on each other. 

The lawsuit claims leadership at Judge Sylvania W. Woods Elementary School in Glenarden, Maryland, failed to act on numerous concerns expressed by students, teachers and parents. It says at a minimum, the school's leaders were deliberately indifferent.

According to the documents, then principal of the school Michelle Williams circumvented administrative procedures and pulled strings to hire Carraway.

She gave him the run of the building while he "came to school dressed in pajamas," the documents said.

Carraway was hired in November 2014. The first student complained the following December, saying, "You need to check Deonte's phone. There's some things with kids on it, nasty things," according to the lawsuit. The complaint says the student was ignored.

Williams then sent Carraway a warning email reminding him of a conversation they had about using good judgement when interacting with students and only engaging with them in plain view, the lawsuit said.

Carraway was later demoted and brought back as a volunteer. Williams gave him a school security badge calling him faculty and staff although he wasn't, the complaint said.

According to the suit, "teachers also reported being confused about Carraway's role in the building,"

Williams has denied the allegations. School officials said they've made concerted efforts to increase reporting of suspicious activity. 

"We hope that the changes we've made and continue to make will be a model for us moving forward and for other school systems as they try to protect kids," Prince George's County Schools spokesperson John White said.

The 24-year-old Carraway is serving a 75-year federal prison sentence. He was also sentenced in state court to 100 years.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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