New principal takes over at Charles Co. school where aide allegedly exploited children

WASHINGTON — A new principal has taken the reigns of a Charles County, Maryland, school where a teaching assistant was accused of sexually exploiting students.

Marvin L. Jones, who holds the title of executive director of schools for the school system, has been assigned to Benjamin Stoddert Middle School, in Waldorf, as its interim principal.

Charles County Public Schools announced principal Kenneth Schroeck’s reassignment last week after the school system released additional information it said was learned in the investigation into Carlos Bell.

Bell is accused of abusing or exploiting 24 children and faces more than 100 charges. The charges include sex offenses, creating child pornography and a list of others, according to court documents. He told investigators he is HIV-positive.

“[Schroeck] has not been accused of any wrongdoing; his transfer is what the superintendent feels is in the best interest of the schools and the students as we move forward,” said school system spokeswoman Katie O’Malley-Simpson.

Schroeck was reassigned by the superintendent to the schools system’s Office of Supporting Services.

Jones took over as interim principal on July 31 and will meet with parents Aug. 16.

The investigation into Bell began in December when he allegedly sent an inappropriate text to a student he coached on the La Plata High School track team, according to the school system. Bell’s electronic devices were also seized at that time, according to investigators, but the contents of his phone, which according to court documents included evidence of abuse of children, was not discovered until it was examined in June.

O’Malley-Simpson said in December that a letter went home to parents of La Plata High track team members.

“The only information at that time we had about Mr. Bell in the investigation was about this alleged text message,” O’Malley-Simpson said.

It wasn’t until a state crime lab examined Bell’s electronic devices that all parents of students in the school system were notified.

The school system plans its own investigation into what happened and its response, but O’Malley-Simpson said right now they’re focusing its efforts on supporting the Charles County Sheriff’s Office in its investigation into Bell.

“We don’t have any evidence at this time that any staff member, other than Mr. Bell, had anything to do with this,” O’Malley-Simpson said.

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