A former elementary school principal with the Claiborne County School District was arrested Wednesday in Morristown on federal child porn charges when he met officers instead of the child he allegedly planned to have sexual contact with.
According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court ahead of the arrest, Joseph Wayne Jennings, 53, of Russell Road South in New Tazewell, is charged with Attempted Enticement of a Minor, Attempted Production of Child Pornography, Distribution of Child Pornography and Possession of Child Pornography.
The former Clairfield Elementary School principal retired in 2007.
According to the criminal complaint, Jennings made contact with an adult over the Internet on the online site Adult Friend Finder. During an online conversation, the individual and Jennings discussed "sexual role-playing/daddy-daughter scenarios". The individual, identified in the complaint as "a citizen-witness whose initials are J.L.," wrote a message to an online tip to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, saying" I got the instinctive feeling that he was into it in more than a fantasy way. I should have just stopped talking right then, but I kept trying to get information from him to see if my gut was right."
In the tip message published in the complaint, J.L. says after earning his trust, Jennings ended up sending her child porn images and telling her stories about sexual relations he had allegedly had with children, and of children with whom he was communicating and exchanging sexual images with online.
The complaint says a detective with the Knoxville Police Department's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, posing as a single mother, Gina, with an 8-year-old child, was introduced to Jennings online through J.L.
Via email, officers were able to set up a meeting with Jennings, whose email screen name is Pervey53daddyjoe, according to the complaint. Officers convinced Jennings that he was going to meet up with Gina and her daughter for a sexual encounter with both of them, the complaint says.
Investigators arranged to meet Jennings at a motel in Morristown where he was taken into custody.