City College worker charged with abuse had political aspirations

Man charged with sex abuse of student ran for City Council in 2007

August 11, 2010|By Erica L. Green, The Baltimore Sun

The City College staff member accused of sexually abusing a 17-year-old student had political aspirations, running for the Baltimore City Council three years ago.

Ryan M. Coleman, 34, a City College alumnus who was hired as a contract employee and worked as a hall monitor and "dean of discipline" at the school last year, was arrested last month on sexual abuse charges, according to court records.

He is accused of taking the student into his office, where he would "start to rub her back and side, ask her if she had a boyfriend and if she liked older men and was sexually active," charging documents said.

Before his job at City College, Coleman worked for Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger — also a City College graduate — when he left his post as Baltimore County executive to run for Congress, according to Heather Molino, a spokeswoman for Ruppersberger.

Coleman, a resident of New Northwood, had volunteered on the congressman's campaign and was hired in 2003 as a constituent and outreach representative, a position he held for a little more than a year, Molino said. She said that Coleman left his position in 2004 because he needed to make more money.

"If these allegations are true, it's really terrible," Molino said Wednesday. "With so much going on in this world, in school the kids need to be protected."

Coleman has not returned repeated calls for comment.

Coleman told The Baltimore Sun three years ago that working for Ruppersberger inspired him to run for the Baltimore City Council seat representing District 4.

"I really learned a lot from Dutch. ... And I thought I had something to offer. I wanted to get in there and make some changes," Coleman said in a 2007 interview.

Coleman came in third out of nine candidates in the District 4 race. He pointed to crime as his platform issue.

City Councilman Bill Henry, who won the race for that district, said Wednesday that he only knew Coleman from the campaign trail.

"He seemed like a perfectly enthusiastic and decent young man, who was trying to step up in public service," Henry said.

City schools spokesman Michael Sarbanes said that Coleman was hired by City College last school year and left his position in May.

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