KNOXVILLE, TN – The FBI was conducting a child predator sting recently and was able to allegedly lure in a Blount County Teacher. The FBI took the teacher into custody.
Heritage High School teacher arrested in FBI child predator sting https://t.co/BYtUaLIiMT
— Carol (@Carol38553) December 4, 2021
John Morrow, a mechatronics teacher and assistant football coach for Heritage High School, was arrested on December 2nd by the FBI according to a spokeswoman for the Blount County School Board. The school board released a statement on the issue:
“Blount County Schools can confirm that John Morrow served as a teacher and assistant football coach at Heritage High School and was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on December 2, 2021.
Mr. Morrow has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of an investigation. Due to this matter being under investigation, Blount County Schools is unable to comment further at this time.
“Our district is working in full cooperation with law enforcement and is intently focused on providing care, and safety for all our students.”
The operation that ended up spelling doom for Morrow involved undercover federal agents out of Philadelphia and Knoxville.
As the agents were working undercover, specifically in this case as a 12-year-old, Morrow started contacting the agent on a social media platform known as Kik.
Why was Heritage High School Knoxville Teacher Arrested By FBI? Revealed News & More in HIndi https://t.co/FrN1pRiiMu
— Hindian (@HindianNet) December 4, 2021
According to the FBI, Morrow informed what he thought was a 12-year old that he was 50 years old and a teacher in East Tennessee. Additionally, morrow was allegedly involved in several other social media groups, mainly #teachersplusstudents, and #studentsgroup.
Morrow did these actions allegedly under the handle of ‘sportandbev.”
After several conversations between the undercover federal agent and Morrow, he allegedly sent illicit photos and videos of him and his wife. Additionally, there were links attached that directed the undercover agent to pornographic websites and other inappropriate messages for a child.
During the conversations with the agent, Morrow allegedly kept confirming that he believed the person he was texting back and forth with was a 12-year-old.
The FBI alleges that Morrow went further and sent the undercover agent pictures of his classroom and made many statements during the investigation that he believed the agent was 12.
Morrow allegedly told the undercover agent that he had sexual relations with students in the past, but there were no details provided to determine if those allegations are accurate.
The FBI advised that Morrow allegedly closed the initial account that he was speaking with the undercover agent on and created a new one with the handle ‘sadm12991.’
While it is unknown why he deleted the old account and created a new one, it was also noted that Morrow would allegedly log out of Kik so that his wife did not notice.
The FBI alleges that Morrow texted the undercover agent and said:
“Don’t get caught with my stuff in your phone. It could cost me a lot. Ok?”
FBI agents were able to identify Morrow’s accounts which ultimately lead to his identification. Once they had him identified, they moved in and compared the pictures and videos he sent to the undercover agent to what was on his body, namely tattoos.
In a charging affidavit from the federal agent, they noted:
“Based on my training and experience, the subject is aware of the age of the individual he has been conversing with and therefore knows it is illegal to engage in sexual conduct with a minor.”
According to the FBI criminal complaint, Morrow was charged with knowingly transferring obscene material to a minor, attempted production of child pornography, and attempted enticement of a minor.
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Of the 10 employees and contractors who reportedly abused children sexually, only one was charged with a crime.
The disturbing documents came to light when BuzzFeed News obtained them via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits that originated in 2012.
The path to obtaining the reports by the CIA’s Office of the Inspector General was not easy.
The news group had to make 13 public records requests and file three separate FOIA lawsuits before gaining access to the documents.
“Those requests, the earliest of which date back to 2012, were for investigations closed by the Office of the Inspector General, which acts independently of the agency to examine misconduct by employees or contractors.
“New requests were filed each subsequent year. At first the CIA did not respond to the requests; then, it said it would take years to provide any documents.
“Those requests were followed in 2014, 2015, and 2020 by lawsuits, and the agency entered into negotiations about what documents to release.
“The coronavirus pandemic delayed the process by a year, but the agency finally began to release the documents in March and will release the final set in December.”
There are 3,652 pages uploaded for the public’s review. Several are heavily redacted, and the names of accused employees and contractors and details about their jobs remain hidden.
The agency cited privacy reasons, national security and a federal law that exempts the CIA from disclosing details about its operations.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia told BuzzFeed:
“Not knowing the identities of the suspects is a hindrance in identifying these cases and why they were declined.”
“Though most of these cases were referred to US attorneys for prosecution, only one of the individuals was ever charged with a crime.
“Prosecutors sent the rest of the cases back to the CIA to handle internally, meaning few faced any consequences beyond the possible loss of their jobs and security clearances.
“That marks a striking deviation from how sex crimes involving children have been handled at other federal agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“CIA insiders say the agency resists prosecution of its staff for fear the cases will reveal state secrets.”
The news group combed through thousands of the CIA’s internal reports and discovered one employee was fired for having sexual contact with a 2-year-old and a 6-year-old.
A second employee resigned after it was discovered he had purchased three sexually explicit videos of young girls, who were filmed by their own mothers.
A third employee estimated that he had viewed up to 1,400 sexually abusive images of children while on agency assignments. He also acknowledged he searched for child sex abuse images while he was a college student.
“The CIA employee signed an affidavit admitting he used a government laptop to view photographs and videos of girls as young as 10 being abused by an ‘older guy.’
“The employee acknowledged that he first began seeking child sexual abuse images while he was in college, and viewed as many as 1,400 while on assignment for the agency.”
Unbelievably, the CIA employee also pleaded ignorance about the illegality of accessing child pornography:
“He told CIA investigators that he was ‘truly sorry’ but also said ‘he did not understand that it was a violation of agency policy to access child pornography until he took the Agency Information Security Course.’”
The records do not say what action, if any, the CIA took against him, according to BuzzFeed.
It is also unknown how a CIA background check did not flag the man’s interest in child pornography.
One contractor for the CIA arranged for sex with an undercover FBI agent posing as a child. His contract was merely revoked.
BuzzFeed reported its summary of the cases’ limited details:
“Of the 10 workers who the inspector general found had committed sexual crimes involving children, five were fired or resigned.
“Four others were referred to a personnel board or the Office of Security, which investigates classified leaks and is responsible for the safety of CIA facilities.
“The outcome of one case — in which 10 child sexual abuse images were discovered on a CIA computer that had been left unattended — is unknown.
“The employee to whom that device was assigned said he switched computers while he was overseas. He denied using it to view such material.
“In an eleventh case, the inspector general received a complaint in November 2016 that an employee used a government computer to view child sexual abuse images.
“Although the investigators couldn’t corroborate the allegation, they discovered that he had shown a ‘consistent interest and pattern of [redacted] conversations involving sexual activities between adults and minors.’
“The inspector general alerted security officials and the Directorate of Science and Technology because the accusation raised ‘potential security and accountability issues.’
“Details of how the case was resolved, and any penalties the employee faced, are redacted.”
The other issue is why federal prosecutors chose not to charge most of the accused despite seemingly significant and credible evidence.
Prosecutors use their discretion in determining whether or not to bring criminal charges based on a few factors.
For example, prosecutors evaluate whether they have enough evidence to convince a jury. Also, they note if a victim wants a prosecution to proceed or not.
The spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia told BuzzFeed:
“The occupation or employer of the suspect does not factor into that evaluation.
“While we cannot comment on the reasons why specific cases were declined, we do take very seriously any allegation that our prosecutors declined a potential case based on an improper assessment of the relevant factors.”
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