A seven-year teacher in the Baltimore County school system, who resigned after pleading guilty to sexually abusing one of his students, today received a five-year prison sentence.
Before imposing the sentence, Baltimore Circuit Judge Hilary D. Caplan said no crime is "more heinous . . . than abusing the trust of a child." The teacher, Steven Pearson Bartley, 33, was prosecuted in the city because he engaged in sexual acts with a 14-year-old boy in Bartley's home on South Collins Avenue.
Bartley, who pleaded guilty in the city last month to sexual child abuse and a second-degree sex offense, will not begin to serve his sentence until May 1 so that he can continue therapy for a sexual disorder. Bartley will be sentenced in Baltimore County Circuit Court next month in a case stemming from sexual acts with the same boy at a county middle school where Bartley worked.
Prosecutor Alan Woods recommended a 10-year sentence. Instead, Caplan gave Bartley concurrent five-year sentences and five years of probation.
"I'm convinced you really knew what you were doing," the judge said. " . . . I would be sending a message to the world and the educational system if I did not incarcerate you."
Bartley addressed the court before sentencing. "I have brought great . . . hurt to people I care for, including the victim," he said. "I have brought a black eye to the teaching profession, to the public schools."
Then he turned to the victim and his mother: "I am truly sorry. He has to live with this for the rest of his life. So do I."
But the boy did not accept the apology. "I do not feel that he feels any kind of remorse," he said. "I will have to live with this for the rest of my life. I'm in counseling. . . . I feel I will come to grips with it, but it will take time."
The boy's mother said Bartley took advantage of a child who had been separated from his father. "Mr. Bartley needs to be punished because he betrayed my son by molesting his body but also because he betrayed my son by molesting his trust."
Gregory K. Lehne, a psychologist specializing in sexual disorders, took the stand for the defense. Lehne, who has been treating Bartley since September, said the teacher's crime resulted from a "pattern of distorted thinking" and a loss of control.