Probers pressing allegations

August 24, 1994|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Sun Staff Writer

Investigators for the Anne Arundel County school board recommended yesterday that a former Northeast High School HTC teacher, acquitted of sexually abusing a student, be charged with professional misconduct.

"The allegations were essentially the same ones made at the trial," said Terrence Nolan, the lawyer representing teacher Charles Allen Yocum.

The two met yesterday with administrators at the school system's Annapolis headquarters to learn the results of the school system's independent investigation of the case and to hear the central office staff's recommendations as to what, if any, charges Mr. Yocum could face.

Mr. Yocum and his lawyer will be allowed to respond to the report. Then, it will be up to Superintendent Carol S. Parham to evaluate the case and decide what, if any, charges she will formally lodge against Mr. Yocum.

"Essentially the report contained the same factual allegations made at the trial," Mr. Nolan said. "And we deny them as vigorously now as we did then."

Mr. Yocum, a 30-year-old special education teacher, was acquitted in March when a jury of nine women and three men decided he did not ask a 16-year-old to perform sex acts on him in his classroom or in a storage room at the Pasadena school in 1989.

He was one of three Northeast teachers accused of child sex abuse.

Laurie S. Cook, a science teacher at the school charged with sexually abusing a male student, was acquitted by a jury in December.

But after an independent investigation, Dr. Parham charged Ms. Cook with four counts of professional misconduct, including having "inappropriate relationships" with students, and recommended she be fired. Ms. Cook has appealed that recommendation to the school board and asked for the hearing to be open to the public, but no date has been set.

Ronald W. Price, the first teacher arrested, was convicted in September and is serving a 21-year sentence.

Thomas A. Newman, a teacher at the Center for Applied Technology South, also was charged with child sex abuse last year, but was acquitted. He is awaiting the results of the school system's investigation of his case and remains on paid leave. Mr. Yocum and Ms. Cook also are on paid leave.

Last week, the school board reinstated another Northeast teacher who had been accused of sexually abusing a student 20 years ago when he taught at a different school. Police investigated the complaint against Brandt Schanberger but never charged him, saying there was insufficient evidence. Investigators for the school system, however, declared there had been evidence of misconduct, and on that basis, Dr. Parham had recommended he be fired. He was reinstated when he appealed that decision to the school board.

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