PLAINVILLE - A former high school teacher was arrested Monday on charges stemming from an alleged sexual relationship with a teenage boy and a more recent ruse involving someone posing as a 15-year-old.
James Batt Jr., 49, of 100 Northampton Lane, is facing charges of employing a minor in an obscene performance, first-degree possession of child pornography and criminal attempted impairing morals of a minor. During the investigation, Batt resigned from his teaching position at Plainville High School, where he had worked for over 10 years.
According to police, detectives launched an investigation into Batt, a then physical education teacher at Plainville High School, on April 2. The investigation was started after the superintendant informed police that Batt was seen in a video that was posted online by a group called the POP (Prey on Predators) Squad. The group, according to its page, says it works to “get as many predators off the streets as possible.” It has been responsible for at least two other arrests in the area in similar sting operations.
In the video, Batt is seen at a Bristol Dunkin Donuts on March 28, when he is confronted by the man who formed POP Squad. He alleges that the 49-year-old was communicating online and through text messages with who he thought was a 15-year-old boy when, in reality, it was the Pop Squad founder, who goes by “Incognito.” Incognito alleges these communications were sexual in nature and that Batt believed he would be meeting the fictional 15-year-old boy at the doughnut shop.
The video was later uploaded to the group’s website, popsquadcc.com.
According to the arrest warrant in the case, Batt, during his conversations with Incognito, asks when he will turn 16, adding that it would be illegal for the two to do anything sexual until his next birthday. When arranging their meeting at Dunkin Donuts, Batt again reaffirms that they cannot have sex until he is 16, saying they would just chat until then.
After police became aware of the video, officers acquired a warrant to search Batt’s condo, where they seized his cell phone, numerous computer related items, such as hard drives, and later examined them.
While looking through the evidence, police discovered that Batt had a consensual relationship with a teenager in 2010, when the boy was between the age of 14 and 15. Police said the statute of limitations has expired, stopping them from charging Batt in the alleged sexual assault. However, investigators were able to attain videos and photographs that belonged to Batt, allowing them to charge him with related offenses.
According to the warrant, Batt met the young boy in April 2010 through a Craigslist add he had posted. The two then began exchanging emails, in which the boy assures Batt that he is 16 years old and that it would be legal for them to have sex. Batt several times asks him if he could prove his age somehow, but the boy says he has no way to prove it and reassures him he is 16.
Over the next two months, according to the warrant, Batt and the boy continued emailing each other, discussing their sexual encounters with one another. During the emails, Batt has the young male send him sexual photos, the warrant said.
Additionally, police found evidence that one of the sexual encounters was videotaped, which was reviewed by detectives. During the ongoing emails between Batt and the boy, the warrant said, Batt again makes a comment about his belief that he is 16 years old and adds that he would never want to get in trouble, saying “I’m a good guy in the end….” However, in a separate messaging conversation with an unidentified man, the warrant continued, Batt says that the youngest partner he has ever had was 15 years old at the time.
During the investigation, police were able to track down the teenager and verify that he was 14 and 15 years old while in a relationship with Batt in 2010. The boy did not wish to press charges. The statute of limitations had also expired, police said.
While examining a hard drive, police said they found that Batt had 82 images depicting young males, many of which showed the boys engaging in sexual activity.
Batt was taken into custody Monday and is being held on $500,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear Tuesday in Bristol Superior Court.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.