WASHINGTON — A former middle school aide was indicted in Charles County on Friday on charges of sexually assaulting students and creating child pornography of the assaults.
Charles County officials said that Carlos DeAngelo Bell, 30, of Waldorf, recorded the abuse of the middle school students in a classroom, at his home and at other locations between February and March 2016. Bell told investigators that he is HIV positive and officials fear he could have exposed the children to the virus.
Bell was an instructional assistant at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School before he was removed in December. He also served as the head indoor track coach at LaPlata High School, and previously worked as an aide at J.P. Ryon Elementary School. He was hired in the fall of 2014.
Seven victims seen in the images have been identified and police hope to speak with three other children who might also have been victims.
“Sadly there may be more cases that we are not aware of at this time,” said Sheriff Troy Berry.
Investigators want to hear from parents if their children had any inappropriate contact with Bell, officials said Monday.
The victims identified so far range from sixth- to eighth-grade students, Berry said.
So far, two of the children have been tested to determine whether they too had been infected with HIV, but the tests came back negative. It can take up to six months for the virus to be detected.
An inappropriate text to a student launched the investigation in December — that student was not sexually assaulted. Searches of Bell’s work computer found no signs of illegal activity. But the sheriff’s office seized computers and several phones from Bell and sent the devices to the state crime lab. Months later, the lab uncovered the child pornography and informed local officials of the evidence last Tuesday, which led to the indictment, officials said.
“Some of the evidence included graphic images of Bell sexual assaulting victims,” Berry said. He described the crimes as awful and heinous.
Berry said that Bell had no criminal history.
Two routine background checks conducted by Charles County Public Schools revealed that Bell had a clean record, said Superintendent Kimberly Hill.
“It is devastating to us that something like this could take place in a classroom, in a school building where adults are charged with taking care of children,” Hill said.
She pledged to find out what happened and how Bell was able to abuse the students on school property.
Bell was arrested on Friday was ordered held with out bail during a hearing on Monday.
State’s Attorney Anthony Covington said that more charges are pending.
Last year, a similar scenario — an adult found a nude photo on a child’s phone — led to the investigation into Deonte Carraway, the school volunteer who was indicted on 270 counts for sexually abusing students he worked with at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School. He coerced the children into performing sex acts with him and with other students while recording them on his cellphone. The activity stretched from August 2015 to February 2016.
Carraway’s trial in Prince George’s County is set to begin later this month. He pleaded guilty to 15 related federal charges in January.
Parents can report information or inappropriate contact between Bell and their child by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI.