By: Joseph Cammarata
In what has become a widely publicized case of sexual abuse, a former middle
school instructional assistant was recently arrested and charged in Charles
County, Maryland for allegedly sexually assaulting students and making
video recordings of the abuse. Officials report that 30-year-old Carlos
DeAngelo Bell was arrested on June 30th for allegedly recording acts of abuse of students that took place in classrooms
at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School in Waldorf, his home, and other locations
between February and March 2016. Investigators also discovered that Bell
is HIV positive, and that he may have exposed children to the virus.
In addition to testing two known victims for the virus, officials believe
there may be more cases of student abuse committed by Bell, who had been
employed since the fall of 2014 by Benjamin Stoddert Middle School until
his removal in December 2016. He also worked as a track coach at LaPlata
High School and formerly as an instructional aide at J.P. Ryon Elementary
School. While the two children tested received negative results, officials
have noted that it can take up to six months for the virus to be detected.
Given the serious nature of the case, other victims, who range from sixth-
to eighth-grade, will also be tested, and officials are encouraging parents
and children to come forward regarding any inappropriate contact with Bell.
The investigation was launched in December of 2016 when the parent of a
student reported an inappropriate text from Bell. Following the seizure
of digital devices from Bell, investigators soon discovered evidence of
child pornography involving the abuse. Bell is being held without bail
at the Charles County Detention Center, and officials have reported that
additional charges will be filed.
In a statement released by the Charles County Public Schools superintendent,
the school system admitted that it fell short in protecting students,
and has vowed to conduct its own investigation into determining how the
abuse was able to take place and what measures should be taken to assist
victims and students from being similarly victimized in the future.
The Rights of Sexual Abuse Victims
The case involving Bell is one of many similar cases involving sexual abuse
committed by individuals who hold positions of authority, including instructional
aides, students, and coaches. Often, assault and abuse results from failures
of governing authorities, such as school system, to take reasonable measures
in protecting its students. Although the investigation in this case is
still pending, officials will be looking closely into possible warning
signs that could and should have been identified, including negligent
hiring and retention, reports of inappropriate conduct, and more.
Our legal team at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. has extensive
experience representing victims of sexual assault and abuse, including
children and families of children injured in school environments. Additionally,
our legal team has litigated sexual assault and abuse matters, including
on behalf of women assaulted in apartment complexes, women who were secretly
videotaped by a prominent DC religious leader as they participated in
religious events, and seven women who have accused Bill Cosby of sexual
assault. We are readily available to help victims of this case, or any
other instance of abuse and assault, with learning more about their legal
rights and what we can do to assist them in obtaining full and complete
justice and compensation.
For more information about our services, or to discuss a potential case,
contact us for a free and confidential consultation.