A Maryland teacher, who told police he was HIV positive, has been arrested after videotaping himself sexually abusing his middle school students.
Carlos Deangelo Bell, 30, worked as a teacher's assistant at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School in Waldorf, the Daily Mail reported. He is accused of producing videos of himself sexually abusing at least seven students both on school property and in his home.
"If you don't think I've asked myself thousands of times, since learning, you're wrong," Charles County Superintendent Kim Hill told reporters July 3. "It is devastating to us that something like this could take place in a classroom -- in a school building where adults are charged with taking care of children."
Bell was previously a track coach for La Plata High School, and worked at J.P. Ryon Elementary in Waldorf and McDonough High School in Pomfret.
Investigators reported that they have reviewed evidence and have identified the seven students on the videotapes.
"So far, we are aware of 7 victims," an official with the Charles County Sheriff’s Office told WJLA. "Sadly, there may be more cases that we are not aware of at this time."
Authorities became aware of Bell after receiving a tip from a parent accusing him of engaging in inappropriate behavior with one of the students on his track team.
"A parent observed suspicious text messages on a child's phone that were sexual in nature," Sheriff Troy Berry told the news station.
Upon searching Bell's home, detectives found a home computer and other electronics. The Maryland State Police Crime Lab determined that Bell was using the computer to produce child porn.
“Some of the evidence found included graphic images of Bell sexually assaulting victims," Berry continued.
After police arrested Bell, he informed law enforcement officials that he was HIV positive. Investigators said they have evidence confirming Bell's diagnosis.
Bell is now facing charges of child pornography and sexual assault. Parents of children who may have been in contact with Bell have been encouraged to alert police.
The school issued the following statement:
Mr. Bell has not worked in any of our school buildings since December 22, 2016.
We have cooperated fully with the Sheriff’s Office throughout this investigation, and we will continue to work with Sheriff Berry and his staff to ensure that all facts are uncovered and appropriate actions are taken.
In an organization that is all about children, these allegations are horrifying. To our parents and community, who put their faith and trust in us to safeguard our children, I apologize on behalf of Charles County Public Schools.Student safety is job one, and clearly we have work to do to ensure that this will never happen again. As a parent and a school leader, I commit to the following:
- Continued full cooperation with the Charles County Sheriff’s Office to ensure that this individual is held accountable,
- Support and counseling for the children who were victimized,
- A comprehensive and transparent review of our safety protocols as well as a review of curriculum regarding sexual assault and harassment so that all students and employees are aware of how to recognize and report such incidences, and
- Continued communication with our community and our stakeholders.