WASHINGTON — A Waldorf, Maryland, man is facing multiple charges of crimes against children after students reported he was having an inappropriate relationship with one of their friends at school, police said.
Charles County Schools Superintendent Kimberly Hill wrote in a letter to parents that some John Hanson Middle School students reported the inappropriate behavior of substitute teacher Keith Krikstan, 30, to a school resource officer.
“Apparently a group of students were aware that one of their friends was having contact with this substitute teacher. And they felt it was wrong. They had recently received information about seeing something and saying something and they knew immediately to report it,” said Diane Richardson, with the Charles County Sheriff’s Department.
The students reported Krikstan on Thursday; Hill said he was immediately removed from the school. Krikstan was charged early Saturday with sexual abuse of a minor, child pornography and displaying sexually explicit materials to a minor.
Parents were alerted that while Krikstan served as a substitute for only 34 days, he was in four schools as well as Hanson Middle. He was also in contact with students at North Point High School, Milton M. Somers Middle School, Dr. James Craik Elementary School and La Plata High School.
“CCPS fully vetted Mr. Krikstan prior to hiring him as a substitute in September 2017. He was fingerprinted, completed orientation, training and a background check with the State of Maryland and the FBI. No criminal history was found,” Hill wrote to parents.
Detectives will search the Waldorf man’s phones and computer for other victims.
“I can tell you we know just enough that he did convince this girl to send explicit photos to him and apparently he sent some to her as well,” Richardson said.
Investigators believe communication between Krikstan and the adolescent girl began in late November or early December 2017, when he got her number and began texting her, Richardson said. Soon after, they kept in touch via FaceTime and on social media, she said.
The county is painfully familiar with the concept of their students being put at risk. Just over a week earlier, Hill spoke to the press after learning convicted child sexual predator Carlos Bell had accepted a plea deal. Bell pleaded guilty to 27 out of 206 charges against him, which included sex abuse of a minor, attempted transfer of HIV and solicitation of a minor.
Since Bell’s arrest, the Charles County school system has provided new training to all school staff — not just teachers and principals — on how to spot the signs of a predator. Curriculum was reviewed for all age levels to help students recognize when “something may not be just right,” Hill said.
The sheriffs are asking parents of students in the schools Krikstan taught in to talk with their kids, and if they learn of anything inappropriate, to call them at 301-609-6558.