Probe of 1989 sex abuse complaint requested PTA council president also wants review of child abuse policy

May 06, 1993|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Staff Writer

The president of the Anne Arundel County Council of PTAs asked the school system yesterday for an outside investigator to probe the handling of a 1989 complaint that a Northeast High School teacher was sexually involved with a student.

Carolyn Roeding, the president, also asked the school board and superintendent to review school system policies for suspected child abuse.

Her request at the beginning of a school board meeting comes on the heels of the indictment Monday of Ronald W. Price, 48, the Northeast High School teacher charged with having sex with three former students over a decade.

Ms. Roeding said she is forwarding a copy of her request to Maryland School Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick because the state Department of Education would be a likely place to begin such a probe.

County police said that they investigated allegations of a sexual liaison between Mr. Price and a Northeast student in 1989, but dropped the case when the teen-ager refused to cooperate.

At issue, Ms. Roeding said, is whether the school's system failed or if people did.

"The question is, did they do all this, and what did they do with all these reports?" Ms. Roeding said, pointing to several pages of school regulations and policies for dealing with suspected child abuse.

Mr. Price, of the 200 block of W. Edgevale Road in Brooklyn Park, was named in three separate indictments charging him with sexual child abuse, unnatural and perverted sex practices and a fourth-degree sex offense. He is under house arrest.

The drama and softball coach has admitted to having consensual sex with students, but claims he has an illness that he can't control and denies criminal responsibility.

School Superintendent C. Berry Carter II has suspended Mr. Price without pay and recommended that the school board fire him.

Mr. Price is appealing the suspension.

Northeast students said rumors about Mr. Price, who taught for 25 years at the Pasadena school, had circulated for years.

Ms. Roeding said she thinks a review of child-abuse reporting "would benefit the system," partly because if procedures were not followed at one school they may not have been elsewhere.

She is asking the school system to respond by June 1.

However, Mr. Carter said after the school board meeting that the school system cannot authorize any probe because police are investigating the matter.

He said he could not comment on anything specific related to Mr. Price.

School board member Maureen Carr-York agreed, adding, "I do think we have policies and procedures that handle these situations well."

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