HYATTSVILLE, Md. — The mother of a Charles County Public School student said that her child was victimized by Carlos Bell — the former teacher’s aide charged with 206 counts of child sexual abuse, sexual assault and attempted transfer of HIV— and she called for better screening and improved training by schools.
“It is with grief that I stand by my child’s side through this horrific series of events,” the woman told reporters Friday. She spoke on the condition that her name and image would not be used and that her voice would be altered.
“I would like to bring awareness not only to other parents and their children, but also other school systems.”
Attorneys Charles Tucker and Carlos Moore are representing three families who say their children were victims of Bell.They told reporters that they sent a letter to Charles County Public Schools demanding that the school system institute improved screening and to adopt mandated training that would help staff to identify patterns and behaviors that could prevent the abuse of students.
Tucker said that he found 18 states that currently mandate that type of training.
“I was sure Maryland was on the list — I was shocked that we haven’t reached that step yet,” he said.
During a news conference in a Hyattsville office, Tucker and Moore explained that the demand letter was the first step in pushing for changes that could prevent abuse of children in the future. A lawsuit could follow.
“This is the most egregious case that I’ve seen in my 15 years of practice,” Moore said. “Instead of spending money on a lawsuit that you can’t win, we would invite the defendants to spend the money in getting training. Train your teachers, train your principals, your superintendent, everyone from the top on down on how to identify predators.”
Bell, who was also a track coach, had extensive contact with students and he is accused of abusing as many as 42 children over a three-year time period starting in 2015.
“Someone should have been clued in that something was going wrong with this man,” Moore said. “This man had to have some tendencies that he was a predator.”
WTOP has contacted the Charles County School system for comment.
Bell had a clean record and underwent two routine background checks that included fingerprinting, Superintendent Kimberly Hill said after Bell’s June arrest.
In addition to state charges, Bell also faces federal charges of producing child pornography. That case involved 10 victims.