A former Maryland teacher has been sentenced to nearly five decades behind bars for sexual abuse of four children. He was found guilty by a jury earlier this summer of nine counts of sexual abuse and sexual offenses. The man has denied the charges and he pleaded not guilty.
He taught for over two decades at a Silver Spring elementary school and in the school system since 1991. He reportedly had many adoring students over the years and other supporters who spoke on his behalf at the sentencing, sent letters of commendation to the judge and showed up in the courtroom wearing t-shirts supporting him.
The husband and father used to teach a “body safety” class that showed children how to identify whether someone was touching them inappropriately. However, law enforcement began to investigate him when an 11-year-old child reported that he had been touching her inappropriately for 18 months. He was placed on administrative leave last year after being given both verbal and written warnings about his behavior.
According to law enforcement, the teacher improperly touched female students, including forcing one to sit on his lap and squeezing her buttocks. He was accused of inappropriately rubbing another girl. Two parents of girls who accused the man of these crimes said that their children have been impacted by the teacher’s actions and the negative response they’ve gotten from his supporters in the community.
Prosecutors dismissed the fact that so many people liked and supported the man, saying that many sex offenders are often charismatic and friendly. The Montgomery County State’s Attorney said, “I’m sure that [the defendant] was kind and nice to many of his students but he also acted improperly,”
It remains to be seen whether the man will appeal the verdict or how long he may actually spend behind bars. However, this case shows how seriously sexually-based offenses are taken by law enforcement and prosecutors. If you or a loved one is facing such charges, it’s essential to have experienced legal guidance as you navigate the justice system.
Source: The Washington Post, “Longtime Maryland teacher sentenced to 48 years for child sexual abuse,” Ellie Silverman, Aug. 05, 2017