MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A teacher and assistant football coach at Heritage High School has been arrested by the FBI as part of a covert operation to locate child predators.
According to the criminal complaint, John Morrow is alleged to have “knowingly transferred obscene material to a minor, attempted production of child pornography and attempted enticement of a minor.”
Blount County Schools confirmed Morrow was arrested and has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the investigation. They add they’re not commenting further due to the investigation but are fully cooperating with law enforcement and “is intently focused on providing care, and safety for all our students.”
According to a criminal complaint, the FBI Knoxville field office received information from the FBI office in Philadelphia last week in regards to the child predator operation.
Investigators said Morrow messaged an undercover FBI agent posing as a 12-year-old girl on the Kik app. Agents allege that Morrow introduced himself as a 50-year-old East Tennessee high school football coach.
Throughout the communication, Morrow sent pornographic material to the undercover agent he believed was the minor and requested she share sexually explicit material to him in return.
The complaint states that many of the messages exchanged occurred during normal school hours.
The FBI said they were able to track the Kik account to an email address tied to a LinkedIn page for Morrow.
The agent said in the complaint, “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.”
Morrow made an initial court appearance Thursday in front of a federal judge.