Accused teacher to get access to some of student's records

November 02, 1993|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Staff Writer

A 30-year-old teacher at Northeast High School charged with child abuse should have limited access to the alleged victim's school records and records compiled by the Department of Social Services as he prepares for trial, an Anne Arundel Circuit Court judge ruled yesterday.

Judge Eugene M. Lerner said he will review the victim's education and Social Services files before deciding what materials to provide the attorney for Charles Allen Yocum.

The Department of Social Services investigates allegations of child abuse referred by school authorities.

Mr. Yocum, of the 1400 block of Cox Landing Court, Glen Burnie, is one of three Northeast High School teachers charged with sexual child abuse since last spring.

Ronald Walter Price, the first of those teachers, admitted his crimes on nationally televised talk shows. He was convicted by a jury and sentenced last month by Judge Lerner to 26 years in prison.

Mr. Yocum's attorney, Terrence M. Nolan, argued yesterday that school and Social Services files may contain evidence, such as instances in which the alleged victim lied to school authorities, that could make her account of events less credible.

He said school officials classified her as being "severely emotionally disturbed," though she possessed average intelligence.

Judge Lerner denied Mr. Nolan's request to require the victim to submit to a psychiatric examination and make the results available to the defense.

Cynthia M. Ferris, an assistant state's attorney, argued that the exam would be aimed at determining whether the victim is lying, and allowing Mr. Nolan access to the results would violate the confidentiality of doctor-patient communications.

"There's no expert in the world that can tell if anybody's lying or not. That's the function of the jury and the function of the court, based on the testimony at trial," she said.

Ms. Ferris agreed to requests by Mr. Nolan to have available at trial both the police detective's handwritten notes in the investigation and the testimony by the police officers before the grand jury that indicted Mr. Yocum.

Mr. Yocum is charged with sexual child abuse, perverted practices and battery.

According to court records, the charges stem from sex acts he allegedly performed with the student at various locations on school grounds during the 1988-1989 school year. The student was 16 at the time, and is now 21 and lives out of state.

Mr. Yocum's trial is scheduled for Dec. 2.

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