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Police: 3 former special education school employees arrested for child and sexual abuse

The three suspects were employees at The Jefferson School in Frederick, Maryland.

FREDERICK, Md. — Three former employees at a special education day school and residential treatment center in Frederick County, Maryland, were arrested on child abuse and sexual assault charges, a State's Attorney press release said.

The three suspects -- Jermaine Thomas, 35, Ariel Eppard, 27, and Wesley Dean, 32 -- were employees at The Jefferson School.

The three are charged with offenses involving a 17-year-old female and an 18-year-old female -- both were students at the time of the incidents at The Jefferson School.

Officials said the investigation began on June 5, when the Maryland State Police Criminal Enforcement Division was contacted by Frederick County Child Protective Services concerning allegations of child sexual offenses happening at the school. Officials said an immediate joint investigation was initiated by the State Police and CPS.

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According to officials, "the investigation developed information and evidence that indicates Thomas and Eppard committed sexual assaults involving one victim on multiple occasions both on and off the school campus."

Officials also said that information indicates that Dean committed sexual offenses involving both victims on the school campus.

The offenses involving the three suspects are believed to have started in late 2018, and continued into this year.

Officials said investigators learned each suspect was a staff member at the school involved in the supervision of students in the residential area.

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A Frederick County Grand Jury indicted the three suspects in late August.

Officials said Thomas is charged with three counts of sex abuse of a minor and seven counts of child pornography/filming a sex act. Eppard is charged with two counts of sex abuse of a minor, two counts of fourth degree sex offense (person in position of authority) and two counts of a court-ordered provider engaging in sex act. Officials said Dean is charged with one count of sex abuse of a minor, one count of fourth degree sex offense (person in position of authority) and two counts of court-ordered provider engaging in sex act.

Officials said the indictment was served on Thomas on Wednesday after he agreed to turn himself in. Eppard was arrested by Maryland State Police at a second job in Hagerstown on Wednesday. Additionally, officials said Maryland State Police arrested Dean Wednesday afternoon in Montgomery County. 

Officials said all three have been taken to the Frederick County Adult Detention Center, where they're being processed and will have an initial appearance before a court commissioner.  

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