Another Northeast teacher charged Sex abuse of boy by woman alleged

May 16, 1993|By Kris Antonelli | Kris Antonelli,Staff Writer

A second teacher at Northeast High School in Pasadena wa charged yesterday with sexual child abuse -- a woman whose charges resulted from what police said was involvement with a 14-year-old male student.

Laurie Susanne Cook, 33, of the 700 block of Charing Cross Road in Catonsville, was released to await trial after an Anne Arundel County District Court commissioner set her bail at $10,000 unsecured bond.

She also was charged with a fourth-degree sex offense, which involves touching.

Lt. Mike McNally, head of the county police Crimes Against Persons section, said school officials notified police of the allegations. Ms. Cook has been with the school system for five years, he said.

Her arrest came about a month after a colleague, softball coach and drama teacher Ronald Walter Price, 48, was charged with sexual child abuse involving a female student and two female graduates of the school.

Charging documents in the case against Ms. Cook said that between Sept. 1, 1991, and Feb. 28, 1992, she was the boy's science teacher at the high school in the 1100 block of Duvall Highway.

The boy told investigators Friday that when classes began, Ms. Cook would tell him he was "very handsome and she liked the way he looked," charging documents said.

He told police that she began to help him with his classwork and give him answers to tests that she gave the class.

The charging documents said the boy began meeting her during and after school in her classroom, and during those meetings, they would kiss before going to a back section in the classroom.

Once there, she would allow him to touch her under her clothing, the charging documents said.

Ms. Cook, who was arrested at her home yesterday morning, would not comment on the charges as she left the commissioner's office with her brother about 1 p.m.

"Right now, there is only one victim," said police spokesman Lt. Rick Roth. "But we are still investigating."

Although school officials could not be reached to comment on Ms. Cook's arrest, Carolyn Roeding, president of the Council of PTAs, said that other teachers charged with crimes -- such as Mr. Price -- are suspended pending the outcome of a court trial.

On April 8, Mr. Price was charged with sexual child abuse after a 16-year-old student reported to school officials that she had a physical relationship with him since she was 14.

After those charges, two other women who had graduated from the high school told police of similar relationships.

Mr. Price, of the 200 block of W. Edgevale Road, who has said it is possible that he has contracted the virus that causes AIDS, is under house arrest pending his trial.

Mr. Price has admitted having a consensual relationship with the 16-year-old, but says he has an illness and denies criminal responsibility.

Mr. Price, who has appeared on two national television shows to discuss his case, has said that other teachers at the school have had physical relationships with students and he had given out his house keys to allow them to take students there.

Those allegations touched off a police investigation into sexual child abuse at the school.

Mr. Price, who has married two of his former students, has been a teacher for about 25 years.

While school officials have denied having any "direct knowledge" of Mr. Price's behavior, state law requires any educator who has suspicions of child abuse to report it to police or social services.

Social services officials in Anne Arundel County have said they had received no complaints about Mr. Price before the April charges.

"We are going to be re-emphasizing the need for an immediate outside investigation into how these types of complaints are being handled," Mrs. Roeding said. "It almost makes you wonder if the abnormal is being accepted as the normal."

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