Ex-teacher agrees to alcohol charge plea

Sexual abuse case involving two teens was dropped last year

March 12, 2002|By Jennifer McMenamin | Jennifer McMenamin,SUN STAFF

A former Carroll County student teacher accused last spring of having sex with two teen-age boys she met at Francis Scott Key High School will enter a plea Friday to one count of providing alcoholic beverages to the boys at a party, according to an agreement reached yesterday.

Tracie L. Mokry, 22, of Westminster was scheduled to go to trial yesterday on two misdemeanor charges of contributing to the condition of a child. She was accused of providing alcoholic drinks to the underage boys on two consecutive nights in April at a party at her mother's home.

After several informal discussions during the morning, prosecutor Natasha Byus and defense attorney Daniel L. Sussman asked the judge to postpone the case until Friday and schedule a plea hearing.

Mokry was arrested May 22 on the two misdemeanor charges and two felony counts of child sexual abuse. She was accused of kissing, fondling and having sex with two boys she met at Francis Scott Key, where she was a student art teacher in February and March of last year.

She was arrested less than four days after police arrested a then-24-year-old female substitute teacher from Key and charged her with having sex with eight male students from the school. That instructor, Kimberly L. Merson, was sentenced to 18 months in jail after she pleaded guilty in July to four counts of felony sexual child abuse and admitted that she had had inappropriate sexual contact with nine boys she knew from school.

Prosecutors dropped the felony sexual abuse charges against Mokry in June, declining to explain why.

Her lawyer criticized Carroll authorities, saying they conducted a shoddy investigation and inappropriately filed charges.

Others who prosecute and investigate child abuse, sexual assault and domestic abuse cases said such charges are among the most difficult to pursue because defendants and victims almost always know each other. When charges are dropped, they said, it's often because victims refuse to cooperate.

Mokry, her lawyer and her mother, who taught art in Carroll County schools for 37 years, declined to comment after yesterday's court appearance.

Byus, an assistant state's attorney, also declined to elaborate on the plea agreement.

The maximum penalty for the misdemeanor charge to which Mokry will enter a plea is three years in prison and a $2,500 fine, but state sentencing guidelines call for probation.

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