CLEVELAND, Tenn. (WVLT) — A former Athens City Middle School assistant principal is behind bars after court documents show he attempted to meet with an investigator posing as a new mother and her infant whom he met on Kik.
Mark Avery Pickel is charged with transportation of child pornography in interstate commerce and interstate travel with intent to engage in a sexual act with a minor.
According to federal court documents, Pickel corresponded with an undercover investigator who posed as a new mother with an infant on Kik. Authorities allege he outlined his desires towards infants to the investigator using a Kik screenname associated with Pickel.
The undercover agent stated Pickel uploaded multiple explicit images of children to a private chat room and uploaded images of himself in a chat with the investigator.
Pickel also allegedly requested photos of the fictitious infant.
When Pickel traveled to a hotel to meet their "mother and infant" he was intercepted by officers who took him into custody.
Records show Pickel worked at Polk, Monroe and McMinn County schools over the course of his career.
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