Former Lufkin charter school counselor arrested on child porn charge

John Carter (Source: Angelina County Jail)
John Carter (Source: Angelina County Jail)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A little more than a month after he resigned from the Pineywoods Community Academy, a former counselor was booked into the Angelina County Jail on a state-jail felony charge of attempted possession of child pornography Tuesday morning.

John Wesley Carter, 42, of Huntington, was released later Tuesday after he posted a bail of $3,500. If Carter is convicted, he could face up to two years in prison.

Carter resigned from the Pineywoods Community Academy last October after an allegation surfaced that he had made inappropriate comments to a student. According to the arrest affidavit, the student in question was less than 10 years old.

Administrators at the Pineywoods Community Academy placed Carter on a paid suspension. School director Bruce Marchand sent a letter out to parents stating that Carter was being placed on suspension because he was being investigated by the school and the Lufkin Police Department.

According to a previous East Texas News story, Det. J.B. Smith, a spokesman for the Lufkin Police Department, said that the comments were "suggestive, not explicit."

"He has been cooperating with officers," Smith said. "He gave access to the residence and his office and computers and such."

Smith said a conversation between the child and the employee was recorded and investigators are working to validate the recording.

"Their initial findings indicate that the recording is of a conversation between the student and employee," Smith said.

During interviews with LPD detectives, Carter allegedly revealed that he had been having sexual thoughts about young girls because of the way they had opened up emotionally to him while he was working as a counselor for the Pineywoods Community Academy.

Carter gave the LPD detectives consent to search his residence. Two laptops, an iPod, and an SD card were taken into custody. All of the electronic media devices were analyzed forensically using programs specifically designed and written for the forensic recovery of data. Most of that portion of the investigation focused on the Dell laptop that Carter said he used primarily.

"An index search, using the term Child Porn produced numerous results," the affidavit stated.

The arrest affidavit went into exhaustive detail about the Web links found in the search

"Based on the analysis conducted by [the LPD detective] and his knowledge, training, and experience in investigating child pornography cases, the number and nature of the hit returns are consistent with an active search for child pornography being conducted on this computer," the affidavit stated.

According to the 14-page arrest affidavit, Carter said this victim was so affectionate that it made him think about sex even more and let it get out of hand. He said this type of conversation had taken place a couple times prior to the recorded conversation. He said he wanted to see what he could say to see how the girl would react.

According to the affidavit, Carter admitted that he taught the girl the hand signal for "to kiss" so that she would not kiss him on the cheek anymore. He also said he had kissed her on the cheek.

The detective asked Carter about the possibility of him having looked at inappropriate material on his computer and he said he had looked at pornography, according to the affidavit. He also said he had probably come across child pornography.

Carter also said he was seeking a response from the girl which made him feel desired or wanted sexually, according to the affidavit.

Following the police interview, Carter allowed detectives access to his computer.

Although the taped conversation seems to not have to do with the charge against Carter, detectives opted to include the conversation in the affidavit.

It states the girl's mother first decided to give her daughter the tape recorder due to some of the comments the girl said Carter made to her. She said that on Oct. 10, the girl said Carter told her to sleep with a Teddy bear he had given her and pretend that it was him.

On Oct. 14, the girl went to school with a hidden audio recorder. Below are a few of the statements from Carter:

"So did you think about me this weekend?"

"Remember what I told you ... that Mr. Carter really loves you, right?"

"And I want to teach you some things that Mom probably wouldn't want you to do or wouldn't let you do."

"Love you."

In the affidavit, the detective described the statements as indicative of an attempt to begin an activity referred to as child grooming, which is an act of deliberately establishing an emotional connection with a child to prepare the child for abuse.

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