Former Kanawha County Schools counselor enters guilty plea for child pornography, enticement

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A former Kanaha County Schools counselor on Monday admitted to attempting to produce child pornography and trying to persuade minors to send him sexually explicit videos.

Todd Christopher Roatsey, 43, of Elkview pleaded guilty to charges of attempted production of child pornography and attempted enticement of a minor. Roatsey worked at Pinch Elementary School from August 2012 to last November.

Todd Roatsey (West Virginia Regional Jail Authority)

According to court documents, Roatsey had created a Snapchat account with the purpose of talking to female minors by posing as an 18-year-old male. Beginning in January 2020, he began talking to two females that he believed were minors. He coerced each female to send him numerous sexually explicit videos, and he sent explicit videos of himself to the users.

Roatsey spoke to several other minors, including students he knew as a Pinch Elementary School counselor. He told the girls they were “hot” and “sexy,” and he received videos of the students dancing in which the children were only wearing sports bras and shorts. He also admitted to distributing, receiving, possessing and accessing child pornography, including images and videos depicting infants and toddlers.

Roatsey deleted his Snapchat account in October 2021 after learning federal officials were executing a search warrant at his home and taking several electronic devices containing pornographic material. The deletion of the account meant Roatsey obstructed justice and made some records inaccessible to law enforcement and federal prosecutors.

Roatsey was once an employee of the Lincoln County Schools system. He was previously named West Virginia’s Elementary School Counselor of the Year and visited the White House in 2016 as part of that honor.

“The crimes to which the defendant pleaded guilty today are truly horrific,” U.S. Attorney Will Thompson said. “They are made even worse because the defendant was a school counselor at a grade school.”

Thompson said students rely on schools to be a safe place and teachers to be resources they can trust. He also stated parents want to know their children can be safe at school.

“Unfortunately, the crimes committed by the defendant in this case has shattered that belief,” he added.

The case was part of Project Safe Childhood, a U.S. Department of Justice effort aimed at stopping child sexual exploitation and abuse.

Roatsey’s sentencing date has been scheduled for Sept. 14. He faces between 25 and 35 years in prison as well as supervised release for the remainder of his life.

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