Teacher wanted for child porn on the run; Search for victims continues


A former Palm Beach Gardens middle school teacher remains on the run facing charges of child pornography and enticement, but a grimmer search continues closer to home: a search for all of the victims in the crime.

While both school district and federal authorities report they have been in contact with families of children identified so far in the investigation, at least a handful of whom are confirmed to be students in the county’s public schools, they continue to seek others.

School district officials said they have posted additional counselors at Howell L. Watkins Middle School, where Corey Perry, 33, taught computer science, was involved with robotics and coached basketball. The counselors are there for those who may have been a victim of abuse.

Perry began his teaching career after clearing the standard criminal screenings in 2005 as a fifth grade teacher Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary in 2005. In 2010, he transferred to Howell L. Watkins.

READ SUPERINTENDENT AVOSSA’S COMPLETE STATEMENT

Perry was a highly rated teacher, whose skills in the classroom earned recognition from the governor in 2012 and a nomination for the Dwyer teaching award in his field.

With approximately 900 students at Watkins Middle, Perry also likely came in contact with thousands of students over the years. It was unclear whether any of the teacher’s work put him in a position to travel with students as a coach or chaperone.

But this week, the district extended its search for those harmed with an appeal to high school students or graduates, asking that anyone who feels they may have been victims of Perry’s alleged crimes during his time at H.L. Watkins to call the FBI and their school counselors.

“As a life-long educator I am disgusted at what I have learned. He has hurt innocent children,” Schools Superintendent Robert Avossa said this week. “He broke a sacred and professional code and I cannot and will not forgive him for that.”

Federal and school district officials announced the charges against Perry on Wednesday. It was a move they said was rare and prompted by a belief that the teacher is on the run.

Perry was last in a classroom with students on Thursday, March 16, a week-long Spring Break followed.

He was last seen Friday, March 24, the same day authorities searched his home, confiscating computers and other various devices. Perry was told that day he was not to return to the school because of the investigation, district spokeswoman Amity Schuyler said.

At the time of the search, his school keys and badge were confiscated, she said. “The district also took steps to turn off his district access to all electronic accounts after the search warrant was completed. By Friday afternoon, Mr. Perry could not access any district accounts, emails, platforms or facilities.”

Authorities suggested the search for Perry could extend beyond Florida. Perry grew up in Nashville, TN and then headed to Florida A&M Univeristy in Tallahassee. The charges in the case are sealed, allowing few details to be shared, but the investigation has “national” implications, FBI spokesman Michael Leverock said.

The investigation was a joint effort involving the FBI, the school district, West Palm Beach police, the State Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.



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