A former Montgomery County, Maryland, high school guidance counselor has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexually assaulting two women he met online using the popular dating app Tinder.
An investigation started after the women came forward and told police they were raped by Colin Sime Black, 35, of Rockville. In both cases, the women said that, while they consented to some sexual acts with Black, they didn’t consent to others and he didn’t stop when they told him to.
The sentence came after an emotional sentencing hearing Friday at Montgomery County Circuit Court in Rockville.
“No matter what you think, consent matters,” said one of the victims who spoke after the hearing. The victim was named in court, but WTOP doesn’t publish the names of sexual assault victims.
In court, the victim told of the emotional toll her encounter with Black had on her life, saying it led to her inability to trust men and attempts to kill herself.
“Your lack of shame and empathy makes me sick,” she said, while looking at Black.
The second victim called Black a “monster” who she said she hopes will remember her face as he serves out his sentence.
In one case, Black took an Alford Plea — a type of guilty plea where a defendant doesn’t admit to committing the crime but acknowledges prosecutors have enough evidence to get a conviction.
Black told the court he knows that “no means no” and denied using any physical force against the two women, but admitted he may have walked a fine line between persuasion and consent.
“I persuaded them to do things they were not comfortable doing,” Black told the court.
Black also said he wanted to take responsibility for his actions and will carry the shame of what he did for the rest of his life.
“I’m deeply, truly, sorry,” Black said.
Black’s mother, Ann, who is both deaf and blind, spoke to the court calling him a good son who wants to be a better person. She also asked the judge for leniency because she said she needs her son to help take care of her.
A woman who admitted to having a sexual relationship with Black after connecting with him on a dating app spoke in support of him.
“I never saw the person he is accused of being,” the woman told the court.
Black was a guidance counselor at Albert Einstein High School in Kensington and lost his job after he violated a warning for inappropriately communicating with two former students, including one instance in which he sent a shirtless picture of himself, according to court documents.
Defense attorney Barry Helfand said Black had sexual encounters with more than 300 women since he started using the dating app several years ago, and only two women have come forward.
“These were willing participants,” Helfand told the court.
After sentencing, Helfand said the defense team plans to appeal the case.
“I pray there is solid ground to get it reversed because we are feeling very, very, crushed by the amount of time that he got,” Helfand said.
Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said justice was served in the case, and he praised the two women’s willingness to come forward.
“It took enormous courage for them to come forward and provide the details of violent sexual attacks to which they were made victim,” McCarthy said.
The Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office said two additional women have come forward with allegations against Black. One case was placed on the stet docket, which means it is inactive but could potentially be taken to trial in the future.
The fourth accuser didn’t want to pursue charges in her case.
Both McCarthy and the victim who spoke to reporters said they believe there are other victims.
“If you’re out there and he hurt you in any way, you can come forward. There are people who will be behind you no matter what, I will be behind you no matter what,” the victim said to reporters.
Upon his release, Black must also register as a sex offender.
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