Charles Co. child sex abuse suspect has recent contact with kids

Charles County closed the meeting to the public that will address alleged child sex abuser.

CHARLES COUNTY, MD (WUSA9) - Parents of teenagers who came into contact with a teacher's aide at the center of a sexual assault investigation still have questions.

Authorities in Charles County told the public Wednesday that Carlos Bell worked as volunteer with the Charles County Comets Track and Field team in 2016.

Police accuse Bell of sexually assaulting seven young males while he worked in the Charles County school system.

Kimberleigh Luter, of Waldorf, Md. said her daughter ran competitively all across Charles County as a part of the Comets team in 2016. She told WUSA9 that nothing happened to her daughter, but that she is still disgusted by the entire situation.

"I'm just like, 'Wow, how could something like that happen?," she said.

Luter said the Comets sent parents an email about the situation Wednesday. That email said the Charles County Sheriff's Office asked the team to provide them with members' email information to help with their ongoing investigation.

WUSA9 reached out to the Comets, but did not get a reply.

The school system set up a website to help answer parents' questions. 

The following statement was sent out to parents from the superintendent of Charles County Public Schools: 

"The Charles County State’s Attorney has charged one of our former employees, Carlos D. Bell, with sexual misconduct charges, including second degree assault and production of child pornography.  Mr. Bell was arrested and charges were filed Friday in a sealed indictment made public today during a bond hearing. Mr. Bell, a former instructional assistant at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School, has not worked in any school building since Dec. 22, 2016. He remains jailed without bond. The Sheriff’s Office has alleged Bell sexually assaulted several male students and believe there could be more victims.

At 2 p.m. today, the State’s Attorney, Sheriff, Health Officer and I will present public information during a press conference about the case. The Sheriff’s Office began investigating Mr. Bell in December 2016 after receiving a complaint from a high school parent who raised concern about electronic messages from Mr. Bell to her child. Mr. Bell was also the head indoor track coach at La Plata High School. 

Once notified of the investigation, CCPS immediately removed Mr. Bell from his duties as an employee and directed that he have no contact with students or student athletes. We have cooperated fully with the Sheriff’s Office throughout the investigation, and we will continue to work with them to ensure that all facts are uncovered and appropriate actions are taken. 

I am alarmed and saddened by these alleged incidents, some of which occurred at school. Student safety is job one, and clearly we have work to do to determine where we fell short in this instance, and how we can ensure that this will never happen again. Our immediate attention will be focused on providing support to any students that may have been affected by Mr. Bell’s actions.  Mr. Bell was first employed by Charles County Public Schools in September 2014. In addition to Stoddert and La Plata, he also worked briefly at J.P. Ryon Elementary School and as the 2015‐16 school year indoor track coach at Maurice J. McDonough High School.

I am sending this letter today to all CCPS staff members and parents who have provided the school system with an email address. We understand the allegations are alarming to anyone whose children might have had contact with Mr. Bell. We encourage you to talk with your children, and if they report anything inappropriate whatsoever, please call 1‐800‐225‐5324." 

The following statement from AlphaBest was sent home to parents: 

"You may have received the below letter from Kimberly A. Hill, Superintendent of Schools in Charles County, or heard or read a piece in the news regarding the recent arrest of Carlos D. Bell. Mr. Bell has been charged with sexual misconduct charges and remains jailed without bond.

Because Mr. Bell was briefly an employee of AlphaBEST Education, we want to provide some important details around what his role with us looked like as well as the steps taken prior to Mr. Bell being hired:

Mr. Bell worked for AlphaBEST’s after school program in Charles County for less than three months in the fall of 2015. He worked at two locations during his time with AlphaBEST: J.P. Ryon Elementary School (August 30-September 28, 2015) and William B. Wade Elementary School (September 29-November 10, 2015). His role at AlphaBEST was that of a Teacher’s Assistant and, by law, Teacher’s Assistants are never allowed to be alone with a child. They must always be supervised by a Group Leader.

Prior to hiring him, AlphaBEST completed both a Maryland and Federal background check (including a fingerprint scan) on Mr. Bell. The result of the Maryland background check showed no criminal history and the Federal check found no pending criminal charges at the time he was hired.

AlphaBEST has been in close partnership with the authorities and, based on the information we’ve been given, Mr. Bell’s charges are not tied to his role at AlphaBEST, nor did any of the misconduct he’s being charged with occur during the less than three months he worked for us in 2015.

We know that the charges filed against Mr. Bell are distressing to anyone whose child may have had contact with him. Should you have questions or concerns regarding this topic, please contact Detective Long at the Charles County Sherriff’s Department (301.609.6502)." 

RELATED STORIES:

Ex-school aide in child sex abuse case let go from school, still coached

Officials search for more victims in Md. school sexual assault case

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