Teacher, Baltimore County man face sex charges

August 06, 1994|By Gregory P. Kane | Gregory P. Kane,Sun Staff Writer

A Corkran Middle School art teacher and a Baltimore County man were arrested on sex charges Thursday afternoon by Anne Arundel County police working an undercover sting operation in Sawmill Creek Park, police said.

James C. Buber, 52, of the 7400 block of Allison St. in Landover Hills, was charged with solicitation and indecent exposure. He has taught art at the Anne Arundel County middle school in the 7600 block of Quarterfield Road for the past 10 years, school officials said.

Joseph Carl Friia, 49, of the 2100 block of Lugine Ave. was charged with indecent exposure.

The sting operation is designed to curb illicit sexual activity in the park, said police spokesman Officer Randy Bell. People using the park have complained about the activity, Officer Bell said.

About 12:30 p.m. Thursday, a man walked up to Officer Leroy Coking, made an alleged sexual gesture and motioned with his head for the officer, who was working undercover, to follow him into the park, police said.

Officer Coking followed the man down a blacktop path. Eventually the man left the path and walked into the woods, police said.

Officer Coking waited about a minute and the man came out of the woods, made the same gesture and again motioned for the officer to follow him. When Officer Coking went into the woods, the man turned, exposed himself and allegedly said, "I thought you would like to play around a little bit," police said.

Officer Coking arrested the man, identified as Mr. Buber, police said.

Around the same time, Detective Roger Crawford allegedly saw two men enter a mobile home at the park. One of the men left after a few minutes. The other stood in the mobile home's doorway and masturbated in full view of a playground and picnic area, police said.

Detective Crawford stopped the mobile home as it drove off and arrested the man, identified as Mr. Friia, police said.

Kenneth Lawson, an associate superintendent with the Anne Arundel County school system, said he couldn't comment on Mr. Buber's case, but did outline the procedure followed when a teacher is arrested.

"We present him with the charges against him and give the employee or his representative a chance to make a statement," Mr. Lawson said.

"Then a determination is made for appropriate disciplinary action," he said.

The teacher could be suspended, pending the outcome of judicial proceedings, or be given more severe punishment, Mr. Lawson said.

Both men were released on their own recognizance Thursday night.

The maximum penalty for indecent exposure is three years in jail and or a $1,000 fine. The maximum penalty for solicitation is one year in jail and or a $500 fine.

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