Report on abuse delayed

November 30, 1993|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff Writer

The results of an investigation into how the Anne Arundel County school system responded to complaints of child abuse won't be turned over to Maryland's school superintendent until 15 days after its Nov. 30 due date.

The report by special investigators Alan I. Baron and Eleanor M. Carey was supposed to be given to Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick today, but the investigator hired by the school system requested an extension of the deadline. The extension was granted by Dr. Grasmick yesterday.

"The holiday weekend fouled us up," said Mr. Baron, a Washington lawyer. "And new materials came to light that we wanted to analyze, and that has slowed us up a little. The new material will be in the report."

Mr. Baron would not elaborate on the "new material."

Thomas Twombly, president of the Anne Arundel County Board of Education, said yesterday that the board is considering releasing the document the same day it is turned over to Dr. Grasmick.

Ron Pieffer, a spokesman for Dr. Grasmick, said that once the report is given to the superintendent, it falls under the purview of the Maryland Public Information Act and could be released to the public immediately except for exempted portions, such as those recommending disciplinary action against an employee.

"I don't know what's in the report, but the only foreseeable exclusion of information contained in the report would be portions relating to specific employees or personnel matters," Mr. Pieffer said.

Concern over when the results of the $106,000 investigation would be made public was fueled by the board's decision to keep secret for nearly two weeks the results of the first phase of the investigation.

That first phase examined how C. Berry Carter II, who resigned as county superintendent last month, handled child abuse complaints during his 18 years as deputy superintendent. Mr. Carter resigned after denying allegations in the report that he mishandled child abuse complaints by not properly reporting them to the county Department of Social Services or police.

The school board's investigation was ordered by Dr. Grasmick in the wake of a sex scandal at Northeast High School that caught the nation's attention this summer. Three teachers at the school were arrested and charged with child sex abuse for allegedly having relationships with students.

The first of the teachers to be arrested, Ronald W. Price, appeared on national television shows, including "Geraldo!" and claimed that school system administrators knew of his past sexual relationships with students but did nothing to stop him.

Dr. Grasmick first ordered a state investigation, and when that found that Mr. Carter and other administrators had been informed of allegations against Mr. Price via memo, she ordered the school system to conduct a more in-depth probe.

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