A husband and wife in southern Georgia face child pornography charges after federal prosecutors say they recorded minor children engaged in “sexually explicit acts.”
The couple has been linked to Boy Scouts of America, prosecutors said.
Jayson E. Wright, 34, and Kara E. Wright, 31, were charged with producing child pornography in a federal indictment unsealed last week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia said in a news release.
Both have possible ties to the Boy Scouts in Valdosta dating to 2015, and Kara Wright was “possibly an assistant scout master,” prosecutors said in the release.Valdosta is about 14 miles north of the Florida border.
Boy Scouts of America said it was “deeply disturbed” by the allegations in a statement sent to McClatchy News Monday.
“This described behavior is reprehensible and runs counter to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America stands,” said Mark Manchester, South Georgia Council for Boy Scouts of America. “While these individuals are not registered in Scouting, upon learning of these reports, we took immediate action to prohibit them from any future participation in our programs and will support the investigation in any way we can.”
Jayson and Karah Wright are accused of encouraging four minor children “to engage in sexually explicit acts which were filmed or photographed,” the release states.
The alleged incidents occurred on at least five different occasions between June 2018 and January 2020, according to the indictment.
Law enforcement is encouraging any parent or child “involved in Scouts under the alleged leadership of the Wrights” or parents of children who have otherwise been around the Wrights to contact investigators with pertinent information at one of two tip lines:
Homeland Security Investigations Tip Line: 866-DHS-2-ICE
Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, Investigations Division: (229)-671-2950
“It is imperative that parents and guardians of children who may have been in contact with these individuals speak to their children, and reach out to investigators at Homeland Security or Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office with any concerns,” U.S. Attorney Charlie Peeler said in the release.
The Wrights were arrested in Texas and arraigned before a federal judge on Sept. 17, prosecutors said. In addition to the federal charges, the couple faces state charges in Lowndes County.
Prosecutors said Jayson and Kara Wright “remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals, and it is unknown at this time when they will be transferred to Georgia.”
Allegations of sexual abuse among leadership in the Boy Scouts of America have crippled the institution in recent years, and mounting legal costs from “hundreds of cases alleging child sex abuse” forced the Boy Scouts to declare bankruptcy in February, McClatchy News previously reported.
One of those civil cases involves at least eight men whose claims are time-barred in the states where they currently reside. They filed claims of sexual abuse against the Boy Scouts earlier this year in Washington D.C..
If the case succeeds, McClatchy News reported “the lawsuit could open the floodgates for other former scouts who were victims of sexual abuse to bring suit against the organization, even if they are barred from doing so under the laws in those states in which the alleged abuse took place.”