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Police: Bethesda teacher arrested for sexual abuse of student

The man is accused of sexually abusing a female student while he was a teacher and rowing coach at Walt Whitman High School.
Credit: WUSA
Walt Whitman High School in Montgomery County

WASHINGTON — Police have arrested a high school teacher who they say sexually abused a student multiple times between May and June of 2018.

According to D.C. police, 47-year-old Kirkland Shipley of Northwest, D.C. is suspected of abusing a female student while being a teacher and rowing coach at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland. The offenses allegedly happened in D.C.

Shipley was arrested Tuesday by detectives with D.C. Police's Youth and Family Services Division. He faces charges of first-degree child sexual abuse of a secondary education student and second-degree child sexual abuse of a secondary education student. 

D.C. Superior Court documents indicate beginning August 4, 2021, police investigated allegations of sexual abuse against multiple female victims between 2007 and 2018.

The documents describe explicit text messages and accused conduct at Shipley's Georgetown home in 2018, before the victim graduated from high school.

According to a letter from Walt Whitman Principal Robert W. Dodd, Ed.D., Shipley has worked as a social studies teacher for Montgomery County Public Schools for approximately 20 years and has served as a coach for a non-school sponsored crew team since 2002. 

"These charges are deeply troubling and are a violation of the core values of our school and school system," said Dodd in the letter to parents. "We hold our employees to a high standard of character and this behavior is completely unacceptable."

Shipley has been placed on administrative leave. Anyone with information that may be helpful to the investigation is encouraged to call D.C. Police at 202-576-6768.

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