This story was updated Monday, Sept. 21, with a statement from the Boy Scouts of America.
VALDOSTA – A South Georgia couple face federal charges of producing child pornography. Federal authorities claim the couple may have been involved in the Boy Scouts.
A federal grand jury indicted Jayson E. Wright, 34, and Kara E. Wright, 31, both of Valdosta, said Charles “Charlie” Peeler, the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia.
Jayson Wright is charged with six counts of production of child pornography; Kara Wright is charged with three counts of production of child pornography, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.
The indictment claims four minor children were enticed to "engage in sexually explicit acts which were filmed or photographed," according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's office. "Information gathered during the investigation alleges that both defendants were possibly involved in the Valdosta-area Boy Scouts of America from August 2015 until the present time."
Kara Wright was possibly an assistant scout master, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.
Authorities encourage parents and guardians of children involved in scouts under the leadership of the couple, or whose children otherwise may have come into contact with the couple, to contact federal or local authorities:
Homeland Security Investigations tip line: (866) DHS-2-ICE.
Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, Investigations Division: (229) 671-2950.
Mark Manchester, South Georgia Council, Boy Scouts of America, issued a statement regarding the case:
"We were deeply disturbed to learn of these allegations from law enforcement. This described behavior is reprehensible and runs counter to everything for which the Boy Scouts of America stands.
"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.
"Nothing is more important than the safety and protection of children in our Scouting programs – it is our top priority."
Manchester said the BSA has safeguards that act as barriers to abuse:
– A leadership policy that requires at least two youth-protection trained adults be present with youth at all times and bans one-on-one situations where adults would have any interaction alone with children – either in person, online or via text.
– A ban on the use of recording devices/cell phones near bathrooms and shower houses.
– A thorough screening process for adult leaders and staff including criminal background checks, and the prompt mandatory reporting of any allegation or suspicion of abuse to law enforcement.
The BSA offers a 24/7 Scouts First Helpline (1-844-SCOUTS1) and email contact address (email@example.com) for help reporting suspected abuse or inappropriate behavior, Manchester said.
More information, visit www.scouting.org/youth-safety.
“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 a statement.
"The defendants were originally arrested on state warrants from Lowndes County, Ga., followed by a federal criminal complaint filed in the Middle District of Georgia," according to the U.S. Attorney's statement.
U.S. marshals have the Wrights in custody. The couple was arraigned before federal Judge Jason B. Libby in Texas. The defendants waived their identity hearing and want a detention hearing upon returning to Georgia, court officials said. No date has been set for their transfer to Georgia.
The case is being investigated by the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorney Katelyn Semales is prosecuting the case for the government.