MARYVILLE, Tenn. — A teacher at Heritage High School is in custody and appeared in court Thursday on child sex charges after officials said he tried to lure an undercover FBI agent posing as a 12 -year-old girl to have sex.
The charges came as part of a sting focused on finding offenders on Kik, a social media platform. As part of the operation, an agent working with the FBI in Philadelphia posed as a 12-year-old girl. The agent started interacting in groups like "#teachersplusstudents" and "#studentsgroup."
While on the platform, the agent encountered John Morrow, who was using the username 'sportandbev,' according to court records. He introduced himself as a 50-year-old East Tennessee football coach at a high school. He then sent a selfie of a shirtless man with unbuttoned pants with tattoos and other distinguishing characteristics, according to authorities.
After sending a few messages, he asked the agent to send pictures of himself, while the agent was still posing as a 12-year-old girl. He then sent another picture that included exposed genitalia, with the same distinguishing characteristics, according to records.
Throughout the messages, authorities said Morrow sent pornographic material and while talking over Kik, he indicated that he had sexual relationships with students in the past. They said he alluded that the women in the videos were students.
On Nov. 16, records show that he closed his original 'sportandbev' account and reconnected with the undercover agent under a new username, 'sandm12991.'
According to records, many of the messages were sent during normal school years. He also said that he logs out of Kik regularly to avoid his wife.
The FBI served a subpoena on the 'sportandbev' account and found it connected with a Gmail email address. So, they served a subpoena on Google and found that the email address was associated with John and Beverly Morrow, according to authorities.
He is charged with knowingly transferring obscene material to a minor, attempted production of child pornography and attempted enticement of a minor.
Morrow appeared in court on Thursday and was taken into custody, according to court records. Blount County Schools said that he has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the investigation.