August 1, 2017

Carlos Deangelo Bell charged with attempt to infect students with HIV

Police are asking the public for help to unravel the case of a former Benjamin Stoddert Middle School worker accused of sexually abusing 24 male students from March 2015 to June 2017. The HIV-positive defendant stands accused of 119 counts of child sex abuse, including child pornography charges and knowingly transmitting or attempting to transmit HIV to students.

In a statement, Charles County State’s Attorney Tony Covington urged anyone with information about the case to call 1-800-CALL FBI. Authorities believe Carlos Deangelo Bell abused 24-current and former students, but 11 of those students remain unidentified. Authorities grew suspicious of Bell in December 2016 while investigating lewd text messages between him and a student, but did not uncover the widespread abuse until June 2017.

The sexual abuse allegedly committed by Bell is just the latest in a series of disturbing incidents involving school workers across suburban Maryland and the greater DMV area, including events investigated by The Cochran Firm, D.C. Often times, these types of tragic cases happen because school administrators failed to perform their due diligence and conduct proper background checks, ignored warnings signs, failed to follow up on accusations, or failed to adequately supervise employees.

Accused faces 119 counts over 2 years of abuse in Charles County schools

The Washington Post reports Bell attempted to infect at least three students with HIV, although it has not been confirmed if any of the victims tested positive for the disease. Police also charged Bell with assault, child rape, solicitation, filming children in a sex act, showing obscene imagery to minors and distribution of marijuana. The victims were believed to be in sixth to eighth grade at the time of the abuse, some of which may have taken place in school classrooms or other school property.

Reports also indicate Bell was an indoor track coach at LaPlata High School, and previously worked as an aide at J.P. Ryon Elementary School. Police have not indicated whether or not Bell may have abused other children at these institutions.

In response to the abuse, school board members reassigned the principal of Benjamin Stoddert Middle School, Kenneth Schroeck, to the school system’s Office of Supporting Services. No explanation has been given publicly for the reassignment. In the interim, the school system’s executive director of schools will serve as principal.

Investigating child sex abuse in Maryland public schools

As the investigation unfolds, prosecutors have released few details beyond what media outlets have already reported, leaving concerned parents to wonder how the justice system will hold Carlos Deangelo Bell and other wrongdoers accountable for the harm caused to survivors.

These types of cases have two components: the criminal investigation against the accused and the potential civil liability against the school system. While the police investigation will likely hold Bell accountable for his malicious actions, it is unclear whether the criminal investigation will provide parents with answers about how and why such a man could work closely with vulnerable young people.

The sexual assault attorneys of The Cochran Firm, D.C. have absolutely zero tolerance for the abuse Carlos Deangelo Bell is accused of perpetrating. Our attorneys frequently represent parents and survivors of sexual assault, which recently include survivors of abuse and their families at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School and James Ryder Randall Elementary School in Prince George’s County, Maryland.

Legal help for Waldorlf, MD sexual assault survivors

When parents contact The Cochran Firm, D.C. about their situation, our attorneys treat these very delicate cases with the dignity and respect sexual assault survivors deserve as we investigate whether or not the school system committed negligence by allowing these predators access to children. Although no amount of money can undo the harm caused by tragic events like these, our attorneys work tirelessly to maximize compensation for victims to ensure they have access to the care and treatment needed to overcome their abuse.

If you believe your child is a survivor of sexual abuse at the hands of Carlos Deangelo Bell or any other teacher in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, D.C., contact our office to discuss your legal rights. The Cochran Firm, D.C. offers free legal consultations to sexual assault survivors and all information is kept in-house to protect privacy.

For your free legal consultation, call 1-800-THE FIRM (843-3476)