A second Gwynn Lake College Preparatory School teacher is facing sex-related charges after a female student complained he inappropriately touched her. The allegation comes less than a week after the school's athletic director was charged with raping the same girl.
Tracy Lopez, 34, of the 2800 block of Diamond Ridge Road in Woodlawn, was charged in a warrant this week with a fourth-degree sex offense and child abuse. Police are searching for Lopez, who they say may have left the area.
Police said Lopez is accused of confronting the 15-year-old student and touching her "in an inappropriate area of her body," in a hallway at the small Christian preparatory school in Woodlawn. The alleged incident was said to have occurred early last month.
On another occasion, Lopez is accused of sending her a sexually explicit note, police said. The warrant was issued less than a week after the school's athletic director, Keith A. Williams, 31, who is also a teacher, was arrested and charged with raping the girl in a school bathroom Nov. 27.
Police said they believe that Lopez knew about the rape allegation but did not alert authorities. The victim said she told Lopez that she had been raped a day after the assault, police said.
School officials did not learn of the rape allegation until Dec. 5 when the teen-ager told a school counselor about it. Williams was charged last Thursday with second-degree rape, third-degree sexual assault and child abuse.
Principal Marion Spann said Lopez is a first-year computer teacher who had been employed as a counselor for the Baltimore County Department of Parks and Recreation.
Spann said he hired Lopez because he came "highly recommended" and taught computers at a recreation department youth camp that was held next door to the school in the summer.
"I thought he would be a good candidate; originally he worked with kids all summer and had no problems," said Spann, who has placed Lopez on administrative leave. "I would say he is one of the safest [people] we could trust."
Spann criticized the Baltimore County Police Department for its handling of the investigation and what he called its "unfair" attempts to tarnish the school's reputation.
Spann disputes the department's claim that the girl told Lopez she had been raped the day after the incident. Spann said school records show that Lopez was not at work on Nov. 28 or 29.
"Mr. Lopez was not at work that day or the day after," Spann said. "Then why are police reporting that when it is not true? To me they are trying to discredit somebody or something."
Gwynn Lake College Preparatory School is affiliated with the New Destiny Pentecostal Church and prides itself on Christian values.
The school was founded in 1995 and has 55 students, most from inner-city Baltimore, in kindergarten through 13th grade.
The charges against the two teachers come two years after the girls' basketball coach resigned after school officials suspended him for alleged sexual misconduct toward one of his players.