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Source: Spencer Platt / Getty

The washington post reports that TV reporter Marina Marraco got a big scoop last week when she conducted a jailhouse interview with a young Prince George’s County man accused of creating a series of child-pornography videos.

But Prince George’s officials have a problem with the way Marraco allegedly obtained her exclusive with Deonte Carraway, who faces 10 felony counts in the case. Namely, they say she misrepresented herself to gain access to Carraway, who apparently admitted his involvement in the crime to Marraco.

Marraco, a reporter for Fox5 (WTTG), and Fox5 news photographer Van Applegate spoke with Carraway for about an hour last week at a Prince George’s County jail, a conversation that wasn’t videotaped or recorded. According to a video Marraco posted later, she and Applegate were the first visitors other than Carraway’s public defender to speak with him since he was arrested last week.

Law-enforcement officials say, however, that Marraco and Applegate didn’t identify themselves as journalists when they arrived at the jail seeking to meet with Carraway. Instead, they say, the pair told guards that they were acquaintances of Carraway “from church” and showed personal identification — not their media credentials — to gain access to him.

Journalists in most cases are ethically obligated to identify themselves as members of the news media before interviewing sources or dealing with those who are their gatekeepers. The code of ethics for the Society of Professional Journalists, advises reporters to “avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information unless traditional, open methods will not yield information vital to the public.”

There is no disagreement that Marraco and Applegate identified themselves as reporters once they reached Carraway, an ­elementary-school volunteer who police say victimized 17 children by recording them in approximately 40 pornographic videos. Both county officials and Marraco say Carraway was aware that he was speaking to journalists.

But there is some question about how they were able to get to him in the first place.

“The reporter and the photographer went into the jail and removed all identification of Fox5,” said a county official with knowledge of the incident. “They said they knew Mr. Carraway from church and wanted to see him. Once they were let in, then they identified who they were to Mr. Carraway.”

A spokesperson for Fox5, Claudia Russo, disputed that account, “Fox5 stands by our story and the process used to obtain the interview with Deonte Carraway.”

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