WASHINGTON — The former Charles County middle-school teacher’s aide and high school track coach accused of sexually assaulting several students and creating child pornography is now facing more than 100 sex-abuse charges, prosecutors said Monday.
An indictment against 30-year-old Carlos Deangelo Bell includes 119 counts related to 24 victims — more than twice as many victims as initially identified by police.
Charles County State’s Attorney Tony Covington outlined the new charges against Bell during a Monday afternoon news conference outside Charles County Circuit Court.
Eleven of the victims have not yet been identified, Covington said, and he urged anyone with information about the case to contact authorities by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI.
“We still need help from the public,” he said. “We still need to people who know something about this case to contact the sheriff’s office.”
Bell, a former aide at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School, was arrested late last month after being initially indicted on assault and child pornography charges. Authorities say Bell recorded the abuse of male students ranging from sixth to eighth grade, and that some of the recorded assaults took place in a school classroom, authorities.
Among the charges Bell now faces are 12 counts of child sexual abuse, which carries a 25-year potential sentence for each instance; 48 counts of second-degree sexual offense, which carries a 20-year sentence; 44 counts of filming child pornography; two counts of solicitation of a minor; five counts of displaying obscene matter to a minor; and distribution of marijuana, among other charges.
Bell told police after his arrest that he is HIV positive, and authorities fear he may have exposed children to the virus. Bell is now facing multiple misdemeanor charges of transferring HIV to another. Maryland law makes it a crime to knowingly transmit or attempt to transmit HIV to someone else, including through unprotected sex.
Earlier this month, police said two students had been tested for the sexually transmitted virus but both had tested negative.
The assaults spanned more than two years — from March 2015 to June 2017 — according to the indictment.
Bell was removed from his instructional assistant position at the middle school in December 2016 after authorities began investigating inappropriate texts between him and a student. But it took Maryland State Police several months to clear through a backlog at its computer forensics lab before the evidence of the assaults was discovered on Bell’s cellphones, authorities said.
Covington said Monday the “serious nature” of the case only came to light in late June and that the investigation is still continuing.
Bell also worked as the head indoor track coach at LaPlata High School.
Covington declined to take questions from reporters after the news conference saying he wanted to ensure Bell received a fair trial.
“As soon as I start talking about the facts of the case, how this investigation went, what we’re seeking in court — any of that stuff — it gives zealous defense attorneys an argument that somehow the state was trying to impact the jury pool out there,” he said. “I’m not going to do that.”
Separately, Charles County Public Schools announced Monday that principal of Benjamin Stoddert Middle School, Kenneth Schroeck, would be reassigned to the school system’s Office of Supporting Services. Marvin Jones, executive director of schools, will serve as Stoddert’s interim principal, according to a news release from the school.
The school system said the reassignment followed the “release of additional information learned as part of an investigation of Carlos Bell, a former instructional assistant at Stoddert.”