Former Charles Co. music teacher pleads guilty to assault

WASHINGTON — A former Charles County teacher accused of having inappropriate contact with students has pleaded guilty to six counts of second-degree assault and one count of disruption of school operations.

As part of a plea deal, Ralph Van Dyke was sentenced Monday to five years of unsupervised probation, during which he is not allowed to teach any subject to students younger than 18-years-old in a public or private setting.

Van Dyke began teaching instrumental music at North Point High School in Waldorf in 2006. He was removed from teaching duties in Nov. 2017 after the school system was notified of the accusations against him.

In May of this year, Van Dyke was indicted on charges of sexual abuse of a minor, second-degree assault and fourth-degree sex offense.

According to the indictment, the things he was accused of doing between 2008 and 2017 included putting his arm around a student, rubbing a student’s neck and jaw with his hand, and kissing a student on the forehead.

Also Monday, Noble Miller, a former temporary instructional assistant and substitute teacher at Henry E. Lackey High School in Indian Head, pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree assault and one count of a fourth-degree sex offense.

Miller is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 12.

In a letter to parents about both cases, Charles County Public Schools Superintendent Kim Hill said that her district added an anonymous reporting tool during the last school year and increased training for both staff and students to help recognize and prevent inappropriate contact.

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