Lawyer representing former Plainville teacher charged in child porn case to fight charges

Published on Tuesday, 29 August 2017 17:02
Written by JUSTIN MUSZYNSKI

STAFF WRITER

PLAINVILLE - The attorney representing a former high school teacher charged in connection with an alleged sexual relationship with a teenage boy is planning on vigorously fighting the charges against his client.

James Batt Jr., 49, was arrested Monday on 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 - who has no criminal record - resigned from his teaching position at Plainville High School, where he had worked for nearly 20 years.

During Batt’s arraignment Tuesday in Bristol Superior Court, his attorney, A. Paul Spinella - a Hartford-based lawyer - said he intends to “vigorously” fight the charges.

“We believe the charges are defensible,” Spinella said. He did not go into a specific defense strategy.

During the hearing, the bond set at Batt’s arrest, $500,000, was not changed. His case was transferred to New Britain Superior Court - where the most serious cases in the area are prosecuted. There, Spinella can reargue Batt’s bond. Should Batt post bond, he has been ordered to turn in his passport and not have any contact with anyone under the age of 16.

According to police, detectives began an investigation into Batt, a then-special education teacher at the high school, on April 2. The case was initiated after Batt was seen in a video 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” and has been responsible for at least two other arrests in the area.

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, who goes by “Incognito.” During the ruse, Incognito posed as a 15-year-old boy and allegedly communicated with Batt on a homosexual dating application. Police allege these communications were sexual in nature and that Batt believed he would be meeting a teenage 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, during the conversations between Batt and Incognito, Batt multiple times said they could not do anything sexual until he turned 16.

After police became aware of the video, officers acquired a warrant to search Batt’s condo, where they seized his cell phone and a number of computer related items. Upon examining them, investigators found 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 elapsed, 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 Batt 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, and Batt has him send sexual photographs of himself.

During the investigation, police found that one of the sexual encounters was videotaped, which was recovered by detectives. 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. 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.

Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or at jmuszynski@centralctcommunications.com.



Posted in New Britain Herald, General News, Plainville on Tuesday, 29 August 2017 17:02. Updated: Tuesday, 29 August 2017 17:04.