The now-former Pinch Elementary counselor accused of possessing and producing child pornography also allegedly messaged current or former students at the school, according to search warrant documents unsealed this week.
Those documents say a review of a cellphone seized from Todd Roatsey “revealed multiple screen recordings of Snapchat conversations with minors, some of whom have been identified by law enforcement as students who attended or were attending Pinch Elementary School, where Roatsey was employed.”
The alleged recordings were made from January through early fall 2020, the documents say. They say Roatsey pretended to be a teenage boy, complete with photos of his teen persona.
“At least two of these minors, neither of whom has yet been identified, sent videos of themselves engaged in sexually explicit conduct at Roatsey’s direction,” wrote Terrance Taylor, U.S. Department of Homeland Security special agent, in the documents.
It is unclear whether those two are or were Pinch students. Roatsey’s attorney, John A. Carr, said he had “no comment at this time.”
In an emailed statement, Kanawha County Schools spokeswoman Briana Warner said the school system has “no independent knowledge of the details of this investigation.”
“Every step of the way, the school system is learning information as it is made available to the public and only the information provided publicly,” Warner wrote. “As information is released and posted publicly, we will continue to offer support and services for any student or staff member as needed.”
An indictment handed up by a federal grand jury last month accused Roatsey of successfully attempting, in January and February of 2020, to “employ, use, persuade, induce, entice, and coerce” two unidentified girls to “engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing visual depictions.” These “depictions” were then transmitted, the indictment says.
The search warrant documents say “other minors, some as young as 11-years-old, sent videos depicting themselves engaged in sexually suggestive conduct that fell short of the requirements for sexually explicit conduct under federal law.” The documents don’t clarify if these were Pinch students.
One of the warrants has been served on Google to access information associated with 16 Gmail accounts that allegedly are related to the phone, including email@example.com. Taylor noted that resembles CDaily, the Snapchat profile name for Roatsey’s teenage persona.
Snapchat is a cellphone application that lets users send messages, including images and videos, that are supposed to automatically disappear after the recipient views them.
Roatsey worked at Pinch Elementary from about 2012 until resigning this fall. He was named West Virginia’s Elementary School Counselor of the Year during his tenure there.
He is being held at the South Central Regional Jail, in Charleston. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him, and his trial is set for March 8.
Evidence that the phone belonged to Roatsey included that it was used to access his Kanawha school system email address and to receive text messages from his family, the documents say.
The documents allege that Roatsey used software to record what was happening on the screen. One of these videos, from April 2021, allegedly shows someone opening folders and scrolling through images.
These “thumbnail” images — single-frame previews for clickable videos — depicted the sexual assault of “numerous infants and toddlers,” the documents allege.