ROME, Ga. - Raymond "Robin" Watts, 55, of Kingston, Ga., appeared in federal court Thursday after being arrested for distribution and possession of child pornography by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations. (HSI)
Watts is a teacher at Mill Creek Middle School in Woodstock, Ga.
During the course of ICE HSI's ongoing child pornography investigation, special agents discovered that Watts might possess sexually explicit images of children, in particular, minor boys.
In early 2011, an undercover ICE HSI special agent made contact with Watts, which led to in-person meetings between Watts and the undercover agent. During one of their meetings, Watts provided numerous images of child pornography to the agent. After a search warrant was executed, Watts was found to have hundreds of sexually explicit images of children on his home computer.
"The sexual exploitation of children is a despicable crime, and it is especially alarming when it is perpetrated by someone in a position of trust," said Brock Nicholson, acting special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Atlanta. "Identifying and investigating those who victimize innocent children is one of our most important responsibilities."
Watts is scheduled to have his arraignment and bond hearing before a U.S. Magistrate Judge on Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.
U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates said, "The children in our community must be protected from those who would victimize them in child pornography. Although all child pornography cases are tragic because of their victims, this case was even more troubling because the defendant taught in a middle school where he had daily interaction with children. Our investigation into this matter is ongoing and we would encourage anyone with information to contact ICE or their local police."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jill E. Steinberg is prosecuting the case.
The investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign-national predators whose crimes make them deportable.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.