A Baltimore County teacher faces a possible maximum 10-year prison term after pleading guilty to sexually abusing an Arbutus Middle School student.
Steven Pearson Bartley, 33, who was suspended without pay by county school officials last summer, is to be sentenced Dec. 20 by Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Hilary D. Caplan.
Bartley pleaded guilty yesterday to sexual-child-abuse charges and second-degree sex offenses. He was charged in the city because some of the sex acts occurred in Bartley's home in the 500 block of S. Collins Ave.
Bartley still faces charges of sexual abuse and second- and third-degree sex offenses in Baltimore County.
"The punishment needs to be jail time," said the boy's mother. "As long as it's made clear to him and to people like him that it's not OK to sexually molest children."
From July through September 1988, Bartley and the boy engaged in oral sex acts in the teacher's home, city prosecutor Wanda Keyes Robinson said. He also fondled the boy and took nude photographs of him. The boy told investigators that Bartley showed him magazines with pictures of children engaging in sex.
The boy's mother said Bartley befriended her son in school and then betrayed him. "For a while he was being my son's buddy," she said.
"I kept thinking something was wrong, but I trusted [Bartley] because he was a teacher," she said. "The sexual part of it is one issue, but the betrayal and the shame . . . is what really goes deep with children."
Bartley was arrested Aug. 22, shortly after the boy told his mother that he had been sexually abused when he was a student in 1988. Bartley, who has been free on $25,000 bail, was suspended without pay from his last teaching assignment following his arrest.
"As soon as I get official notice from the court, we have to address the issue of termination," Baltimore County school Superintendent Robert Y. Dubel said. "He has not been involved with students from the day we learned of this back in August. We're always very sad when this type of thing happens."
The victim's mother said she and her son are dealing with the ordeal with the aid of therapy.