News Editor, WFSB
PLAINVILLE - School leaders in Plainville told Eyewitness News that a former teacher is under criminal investigation after being allegedly featured in an online video by a group that targets sexual predators, WFSB-TV3 is reporting.
A video by group called Popsquad or Prey On Predators allegedly features former Plainville High School special education teacher, 49-year-old James Batt Jr.
The goal of Popsquad is to protect innocent children online. A letter provided to Eyewitness News by the Plainville School District stated Batt is featured in one of the group’s latest videos.
In the video, which was released in March, Batt is allegedly seen meeting with who he believes is a 15-year-old boy.
When confronted by the producers, Batt allegedly admitted that he had chatted about sex online with the decoy boy and later admitted his wrongdoing.
A student at Plainville High sent the video to the principal and staff, according to a letter, Eyewitness News obtained through freedom of information.
“Due to the disturbing nature of the video, in which you were allegedly meeting with a male you believed to be 15 years old, I contacted police,” Plainville Superintendent Maureen Brummett wrote in a letter to Batt.
The letter acknowledges that police searched Batt’s home on April 2. Officers took any keys he had to the school and his school laptop was confiscated when police searched his home.
Batt was put on administrative leave on April 3 and resigned shortly after.
Eyewitness news tried contacting Batt twice. The station knocked on Batt’s door on Friday morning, but there was no answer.
Brummett sent this letter to parents at the start of the week informing them that a former employee was under investigation for “inappropriate off-campus activities.”
“It’s scary,” parent Erin Ricker said. “I have a teenage son as well and I would want to know what’s going on.”
“I just thought he was such a nice guy and everything like I was kind of in denial about it at first,” Luke Jones, who is a sophomore at Plainville High School, said.
Brummett said they have conducted an internal investigation of the school and nothing suggests this type of interaction has taken place on school grounds.
Batt has not been formally charged or arrested at this point. The Plainville Police Department said they cannot comment on an ongoing investigation but said they are speaking to the states attorney’s office and will have more answers soon.