Attorneys for Md. coach facing child sex abuse charges want more time to prepare defense

LA PLATA, Md. — Attorneys for a former Charles County teaching assistant and track coach accused of sexually abusing dozens of children told a judge Thursday that they need more time to prepare their client’s defense. 

In Charles County Circuit Court, 30-year-old Carlos Bell faces 206 charges for the alleged sexual abuse of at least 42 children. Bell’s defense attorneys said during the Thursday status hearing that a scheduled Jan. 8 trial date may not give them enough time to prepare, given the long list of charges, many of which come with video and images to review.

Attorney James Crawford said his legal team may also soon be playing more of a role in Bell’s defense in a separate federal case on child pornography charges.

During the hearing, Judge Amy Bragunier requested that the defense and prosecution speak more with one another; any possible delays in the trial will be discussed at a further date.

In an orange jumpsuit with “Charles County Inmate” written on the back, Bell stood silently with his defense team during the hearing. The only sound coming from Bell was the rattling his shackles and cuffs made as he walked into and out of the courtroom.

On several occasions, attorneys did use the phrase “if this goes to trial.” One possibility in this case may be a plea deal for Bell. But so far, neither side has confirmed one is in the works.

This circuit court hearing comes less than a month after Bell pleaded not guilty in his federal court case.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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