A former Athens City Middle School assistant principal was arraigned in federal court this morning for child sex crime charges. Mark Avery Pickel faces transportation of child pornography in interstate commerce and interstate travel with intent to engage in a sexual act with a minor. Court documents state Pickel corresponded using the Kik app with the undercover investigator who posed as a new mother with an infant. Authorities allege he outlined his sexual intentions towards infants to the investigator using a Kik screenname associated with Pickel. When Pickel traveled to a hotel to meet the “mother and infant” officers were waiting and arrested him.
Pickel previously worked in the Monroe and McMinn County school systems during his educational career.
Pickel was assistant principal at Polk County High School from July 2004 to June 2008, and a assistant principal in Athens from 2009 to 2011 and principal of Vonore Elementary School from July 2013 to June 2014