Teenager testifies teacher raped her

Convicted killer hired by private academy faces charges involving 3 girls

January 10, 2007|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,Sun reporter

A teenage girl took the witness stand yesterday to testify against the Baltimore private school teacher accused of raping her.

The girl, 13 at the time of the alleged assault, was one of several female students who had befriended Charles Carroll, a teacher's aide and then teacher at the Community Initiatives Academy in East Baltimore.

Now 15, the girl testified that months before the alleged rape, Carroll groped her several times and offered to pay her money for those encounters. She said she agreed but then changed her mind.

"I wanted to tell him he should stop because it wasn't right," she testified. "I felt wrong about it."

Two other students, then ages 13 and 17, also have said that Carroll groped them. After those girls told authorities in spring 2005 about the alleged misconduct, another issue emerged publicly: Carroll is a convicted murderer.

Administrators at the Christian school hired him knowing that he served six years in prison for a 1995 second-degree murder conviction stemming from a fight.

"As a black man, I gave him a second chance," Principal Christina V. Philips Holtsclaw said after Carroll's arrest in May 2005. Parents did not know a convicted felon was teaching their children.

Carroll, 30, worked at the school for about three years before he was arrested and fired.

His Baltimore Circuit Court trial began this week and was to continue with testimony today. He is charged with second-degree rape, child abuse and other counts.

Opening statements

"This is a case about having power and taking advantage of that power," Assistant State's Attorney Temmi Rollock said in her opening statement.

The prosecutor told jurors that the alleged rape victim regarded Carroll as a father figure. Rollock said Carroll began making "inappropriate advances" toward the girl in December 2004 and raped her in a classroom after school one day in February 2005.

The Sun does not name alleged victims of sex crimes.

In his opening statement, defense attorney Edward Smith said the case is "about who is telling the truth." He said jurors will see no physical evidence and will have to render a verdict based on the trustworthiness of the girl and other witnesses.

Carroll, Smith said, "loved being a teacher," a career given to him as a "second chance." Smith did not speak about the second-degree murder conviction, but he hinted that jurors would hear about it in the course of the trial.

"He was well thought of by every single teacher" and the entire staff of Community Initiatives Academy, Smith said.

Smith said the sex accusations were made by "young people caught up in a maelstrom of rumors" at a small school, Smith said. The school, in the 1400 block of E. Biddle St., has about 130 students.

Testimony yesterday revealed that the school's initial response to the girls' allegations strayed from typical procedure -- and might have violated state law, which requires teachers and others who supervise children to immediately report any signs of abuse to police or social services.

School meeting

The alleged rape victim testified that when she and her friends approached a trusted teacher with their claims -- about a month after the girl says she was raped -- the teacher told an assistant principal.

The assistant principal then held a meeting that included the accusers and Carroll, who denied he had behaved inappropriately. The meeting did not include parents.

Police came to the school April 18, court documents show, after being called by the parent of an alleged victim. The assistant principal said she had talked to Carroll but wanted to talk to him one more time before notifying authorities.

julie.bykowicz@baltsun.com

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