Former child protection caseworker pleads guilty in child pornography case
A former caseworker for New Jersey's child protection agency admitted to producing child pornography, according to federal authorities.
The caseworker, Kayan Frazier, pleaded guilty Thursday via video conference in federal court to one count of sexual exploitation of a child, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig said in a press release. He's been in custody since his arrest in July 2019.
The crime occurred between March 2017 and April 2019 and involved an underage boy, according to the charging document. It states that Frazier, 28, "did knowingly employ, use, persuade, induce, entice or coerce" the victim to "engage in sexually explicit conduct."
Authorities began investigating after they received a report that child sexual abuse images were being distributed on Tumblr. Law enforcement identified the sender as Frazier, who at the time was a caseworker for New Jersey's Department of Child Protection and Permanency.
In April 2019, prosecutors in Atlantic County obtained a search warrant for Frazier's Somers Point apartment. While executing the warrant, authorities found him "in the company of an underage boy," the release states.
"Law enforcement officers recovered thousands of additional images of child sexual abuse on Frazier’s cellular telephone and other electronic media, which included images of the boy taken in Frazier’s apartment. Frazier admitted that he took the images with a cellular telephone," the attorney's office said.
Frazier's attorney, Lisa Lewis, said, "My office has a no comment policy on all matters."
He faces a maximum prison sentence of 30 years and a $250,000 fine. He's scheduled to be sentenced on June 8.
Frazier was also charged by Atlantic County prosecutors with distribution of child pornography and possession of child pornography, both second-degree offenses. County prosecutor Damon Tyner said an investigation uncovered "more than 1,000 images depicting sexual exploitation or abuse of a child."
An FBI special agent wrote in a 2019 complaint that Frazier was fired from his job as a substitute teacher after he was accused of letting a young male student "visit his home and sleep in his bed." He was accused of texting a 9-year-old student after hours.
Frazier denied any inappropriate conduct with the first student and said he was the boy's mentor, according to the complaint. He acknowledged texting the 9-year-old, it states.
The complaint also alleges that Frazier threatened to harm the family of one victim if the boy did not comply with his sexual advances or if he told anyone.
Frazier was fired from his teaching job in March 2017 and began working as a caseworker six months later, according to NJ.com. A spokesperson for the Department of Children and Families told the outlet that the agency could not discuss specific investigations due to confidentiality laws but that all employees are subject to background checks and screenings for abuse cases.