The Gilman School's dean of students has been arrested on a federal charge that he used the Internet to try to entice a 14-year-old girl to meet him to have sex.
Geoffrey C. Stewart, 31, of the 1300 block of Southview Road, was arrested Nov. 7 when investigators say he went to Towson Town Center expecting to meet "Jeni," which turned out to be an undercover alias for a Baltimore County detective and an FBI agent.
Stewart, who court records indicate came to Baltimore from North Carolina in September to work at Gilman, was put on administrative leave by the Roland Park boys school after his arrest, school spokesman Patrick Smithwick said.
Smithwick declined to comment on the case further, saying it is school policy not to discuss personnel issues. He said Gilman officials are cooperating with authorities.
At a court appearance this month, U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan K. Gauvey ordered that Stewart, who also teaches science, have no contact with anyone younger than 18 unless he is with an adult and that Stewart have no access to computers or to the Internet.
Stewart waived a preliminary hearing scheduled yesterday. His attorney, Michael Schatzow of Baltimore, said Stewart would respond to the charge "in due course."
"As you would imagine, this young man's life has been turned upside down by this accusation, which does not call into question his conduct on the job," Schatzow said.
Court records show that police started tracking Stewart in May, after he made repeated contact with Baltimore County Detective Mark A. Claypoole, who was posing as a 14-year-old cheerleader in an America Online chat room called "OlderM4YoungerF" as part of a police effort to identify potential child predators online.
In the initial conversations, Stewart asked the girl how old she was, what she looked like and her bra size, according to an affidavit sworn to by FBI Special Agent Allison M. Mourad, who later joined Claypoole on the case.
In online conversations that grew increasingly graphic, Stewart told the girl he was a teacher at a private school and warned her that their exchanges could land him in trouble, according to Mourad's statement.
After sending her a naked photo of himself that did not show his face, Stewart wrote, "A teacher has to be careful," according to court records.
Beginning in September, the investigators monitored Stewart at his Northeast Baltimore home and at Gilman, where court records suggest he occasionally checked his AOL e-mail account. In early November, "Jeni" agreed to meet Stewart at the food court of the Towson mall, court records show.
The case against Stewart was investigated in part by the FBI's Innocent Images program, which targets online pornography traffickers and cyber-stalkers and which has seen its caseload double since 1998. The program is national but is based in Baltimore.
The charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.