BR teacher accused of soliciting lewd photos

Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- State and federal officials raided Kenilworth Science and Technology Charter School in Baton Rouge on Wednesday.
Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON -- State and federal officials raided Kenilworth Science and Technology Charter School in Baton Rouge on Wednesday.

Baton Rouge police have opened a criminal investigation into claims that an instructor at Kenilworth Science and Technology Charter School has been soliciting students to send him cellphone photographs of their genitalia, according to court filings.

The inquiry began May 9 after a counselor contacted the Baton Rouge Police Department and reported that Darrion Buckles had “propositioned” a 15-year-old girl and a 14-year-old girl during gym class, the filings show. Buckles, who has not been arrested, allegedly asked the students to send him the images via text message.

Investigators recently searched Buckles’ cellphone and found several close-up photographs and a video showing a female’s genitalia, according to the documents, though it was not immediately clear whether the female was a juvenile.

Cpl. L’Jean McKneely, a police spokesman, confirmed the ongoing investigation Friday but said he could not comment further. Calls to Buckles’ home were not answered.

Mark Lambert, whose public relations firm represents Kenilworth, refused to comment on the investigation and would not say whether Buckles is still employed at the school. “We’re not going to say anything,” Lambert said.

The day after the counselor reported the girls’ claims, a detective interviewed the 15-year-old girl, who claimed Buckles had given her keys to the locker room and told her to go in there to take the photographs with her cellphone.

“The 15-year-old victim refused to comply with the defendant’s instructions and proceeded to a different class,” Detective Jonathan Medine wrote in an affidavit for a search warrant.

Medine also interviewed the 14-year-old girl, who said she had been asked by Buckles before and after Christmas break to send him a photograph of her genitalia. The detective learned in interviews “that there were possibly other juvenile female students of the school who have been approached by the defendant and asked to send photographs of their (genitals) to him,” the affidavit says.

The detective also approached Buckles, who signed a voluntary consent for the officer to search his cellphone. While the face of the female depicted in the video was not visible, Medine noted, “she was wearing a purple shirt, which is consistent with the school uniform of Kenilworth Science and Technology Charter School.”

Investigators with the Baton Rouge Police Department and East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office searched Buckles’ home at 6648 Cameren Oaks Drive about 10:30 p.m. May 10 and seized a USB flash drive, two iPads and a laptop, according to court records. No additional details were available Friday afternoon.