Board to deliberate Newman's fate Closing arguments heard in misconduct case of Glen Burnie teacher

September 05, 1996|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

A Glen Burnie High School teacher acquitted two years ago of charges that he had sex with one of his students in the 1970s is fighting accusations of sexual misconduct with her and three other students to save his job.

Seven school board members heard closing arguments in a school board administrative hearing last night in the case of Thomas A. Newman, 47, accused of having sexual relations, kissing and sexually harassing four female students over an 11-year period. Newman denies all of the accusations.

The statements from opposing lawyers that concluded four days of closed-door testimony were the only part of the administrative hearing that was open, based on Newman's request.

Board members will base their decision on whether to fire Newman on the closing arguments, transcripts of the hearing and a July 24 recommendation by hearing examiner William M. Ferris that Newman be declared not guilty and returned to the classroom.

Defense lawyer Thomas C. Morrow called the allegations, which run from 1976 to 1987, "preposterous" and "patently implausible if not impossible."

But P. Tyson Bennett, pressing the administration's case, said the four girls' stories show a pattern of sexual misconduct by the former football coach. The three other students did not testify at the 1994 criminal trial in which he was acquitted.

Newman allegedly had oral sex in 1976 with the first girl at school and intercourse at the girl's home. It wasn't until 1990 that she decided to complain. Newman was acquitted by an Anne Arundel County Circuit Court jury.

Bennett said that in 1980 Newman made another girl uncomfortable by looking at her chest when talking to her and making "double-entendre comments of a sexual nature." A 1986 Glen Burnie High graduate said she gave Newman sexually explicit notes and "he took her to what she described as a broom closet, where he kissed her, a French kiss," Bennett said.

A 1987 graduate accused him of pulling down his pants in front of her.

Defense attorney Morrow said the girls in the 1986 and 1987 incidents damaged their credibility by playing down how well they knew each other when both helped manage the football team and attended parties together.

Newman is in his 26th year as a teacher, most of that time at Glen Burnie High School. He spent four years at the Center for Applied Technology South in Edgewater. He has been given administrative duties at school headquarters, pending the outcome of the case.

Pub Date: 9/05/96

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