Montgomery Co. school security leader charged with sex offense

WASHINGTON — A security official at a Montgomery County high school has been charged with the sexual abuse of a student he met while working at the school.

Mark C. Yantsos, 57, of Rockville, was arrested on Thursday on charges of sexual abuse of a minor and a fourth-degree sex offense, according to Montgomery County police.

Yantsos is the security team leader at Richard Montgomery High School and has been placed on administrative leave.

County detectives with the department’s special victims investigation division were told Monday by school officials that Yantsos had engaged in an ongoing sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl at the school.

Police said that detectives interviewed the student, who told investigators that she met Yantsos at her school, where Yantsos was employed.

She said Yantsos befriended her in 2016 and has bought her gifts.

According to police, Yantsos bought the girl a pair of Ugg boots, a North Face jacket, a diamond pendant necklace as a Christmas present and a ring.

In March of this year, Yantsos bought the teen a new iPhone 7 so he could communicate with her during and after school hours, according to police.

The student said early last month that Yantsos picked her up at 10 p.m. at her home and drove her to a Rockville hotel, where he engaged in inappropriate contact.

Investigators received copies of text messages Yantsos had recently sent the girl.

On Monday, Yantsos saw the girl’s mother enter school and head to the main office. Yantsos made contact with the girl while she was in class. They met in school, and Yantsos took custody of the iPhone he’d purchased for her.

Montgomery County Public Schools put Yantsos on administrative leave as soon as it learned of the allegations, according to a police statement.

“The allegations described in the charging documents are despicable and represent an irreparable breach of trust, ethics and the law,” said school principal Damon Monteleone, in an email to parents.

In addition to his security role, the principal said Yantsos was the school’s varsity basketball coach during the the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 seasons.”

Superintendent Jack Smith added:   “Any adult who abuses their position and takes advantage of our students has no place in our schools or community.”

According to the MCPS website, the security leader “is assigned to the high school to assist the school administration in maintaining a safe and secure learning atmosphere for staff and students.”

Detectives are asking parents of students who attend Richard Montgomery High to “talk to their children about interactions with Yantsos, and to contact detectives at 240-773-5400 if they believe their child was victimized.”

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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