NJ child-protection agency hired perv who created child porn
A politically connected man who lost his job as an Atlantic City teacher for sleeping with a boy ended up employed as a child-welfare worker at the same agency that had investigated him.
Kayan Frazier, 28, of Somers Point, pleaded guilty last week on federal charges of sexual exploitation of a child after investigators found thousands of images of child pornography on his phones and online accounts, including images of an underage boy who lived with him part-time.
Details in the criminal complaint raise questions about hiring at the state Department of Children and Families and whether they could have done more to protect the victim, who authorities say was molested repeatedly and cowed into silence by Frazier's threats.
While his plea deal on the child porn charge exposes him to at least 15 to 30 years in federal prison, the plea does not address the federal investigation's allegation that he molested at least four other boys.
Atlantic County investigators began looking into Frazier in 2019 after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children forwarded a tip that Frazier was sharing suspected child porn on Tumblr. But that wasn't the first time he had been under scrutiny.
According to the criminal complaint, the state Department of Children and Families investigated Frazier in 2017, when he was a fulltime elementary substitute teacher in an Atlantic City public elementary school. The school's principal, La'Quetta Small, was Frazier's cousin. Small, also the wife of Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small, is now in charge of the high school.
The child welfare agency found that Frazier had allowed a young boy to visit him at home and sleep with him in bed. Investigators also learned that Frazier had been texting a 9-year-old boy, which is against district policy.
At the time, Frazier acknowledged that he had slept with the boy — whom he described as a mentee who he regarded as a son — but denied any improper behavior. The boy did not accuse Frazier of molesting him.
While the agency's report resulted in him losing his teaching job, he quickly landed a new job dealing with children at the same state agency that had just investigated him. According to the federal complaint, Frazier proceeded to molest the boy and use him for child porn that he shared and sold online until he was stopped two years later.
The Department of Children Families has declined to explain why Frazier was hired ever since NJ.com and other media outlets reported about his hiring. A spokesman for the department did not respond to New Jersey 101.5's request for comment on Sunday.
According to a report on BreakingAC.com, then-principal La'Quetta Small confronted her cousin about the sleepovers in December 2016 and reported him two months later to the company that assigned substitutes to her school. He continued to be assigned to other schools in the district for another month before his termination in June, BreakingAC reported.
The Press of Atlantic City reported in October that the school board, upset that they had been kept in the dark about Frazier's termination, hired an independent counsel to investigate the district's handling of the matter.
On the day state investigators knocked on Frazier's door in April 2019 for the child-porn investigation, they found the underage boy at home with him.
Federal officials said Frazier lied by identifying the boy as his son. According to the complaint against Frazier, the child was living part-time with Frazier and part-time with his mother.
After Frazier's electronics were confiscated, the boy identified himself in sexually explicit images recovered from Frazier's phones. He told investigators that Frazier often engaged him in sexual activities and threatened to harm the boy's family if he ever refused to participate or if he told anyone about the activity, the complaint says.
Authorities found thousands of images of child sexual abuse on Frazier’s cellphone and accounts, including images of the boy produced in Frazier’s apartment.
In May 2019, federal investigators went back to Frazier's home and confiscated items that prosecutors said had been gifts he'd given the boy.
The federal complaint also says that Frazier would pose as a female on Facebook to "catfish" or trick boys into sending him nude photos of themselves. Some of those boys included the victim's cousin and friend, the complaint says.
Frazier is scheduled to be sentenced in U.S. District Court on June 8.
Sergio Bichao is the digital managing editor of New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-775-9793 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.