Custodian accused of molesting youth, 15

Overlea High parents hear of arrest, charges in letter

boy is not student there

School puts janitor on leave

Alleged victim recounts parties, photos of teens

December 09, 2003|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,SUN STAFF

Letters were sent home yesterday to parents of Overlea High School students, informing them that a custodian has been charged with molesting a 15-year-old boy who did not attend the school, Baltimore County police and school officials said.

The alleged victim told police that the custodian, identified as Michael Scott Shannon, 33, said he watches boys use the restroom at the high school, according to charging documents filed in District Court.

Shannon, of the 2800 block of Nathaniel Way in Dundalk, was placed on routine administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of the case, said Charles Herndon, a school system spokesman.

Overlea High Principal James F. Thanner said he has no reports of incidents involving the custodian and noted that staff members are trained to report suspicions of abuse. He declined to comment on the charges against Shannon "until he's had his day in court."

Shannon was arrested and charged Friday with three counts of second-degree sex offenses, two counts of perverted practice, two counts of sexual abuse of a minor and one count of sodomy stemming from allegations that he forced the 15-year-old boy to have a sexual relationship with him from August through last month, police said.

The custodian and the boy apparently met at Colgate Park in August, according to the charging documents.

The boy and his mother lived with Shannon from September through the end of last month, when the boy told his mother that he was being abused, according to court records.

During that time, the victim told police that he saw pictures of naked boys in Shannon's possession - including photographs taken of him without his knowledge, according to court records.

The boy also said Shannon has had as many as seven other boys - ages 15 to 18 - to his apartment for parties at which alcohol and marijuana were served, according to court documents.

Police yesterday urged those who attended those parties to contact police.

In the letter sent to Overlea parents last night, Thanner wrote: "All of us at Overlea High School are concerned by what has been reported. Overlea High continues to strive to provide a quality education program for your child in a safe, nurturing environment.

"We will continue to work closely with police as they investigate this case, and we look forward to a productive and positive end to the first half of the school year."

Shannon was released yesterday on a $175,000 bond. Police asked anyone with information to call the department's family crimes unit at 410-853-3650.

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