Bethesda school teacher faces sex abuse charges

A teacher from Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, Maryland, has been arrested on sex charges related to a former student, and D.C. prosecutors believe there could be other potential victims.

Kirkland Shipley, 47, of Northwest D.C., has worked for Montgomery County Public Schools since 2001. He also has served as coach of the community-sponsored Whitman Crew Team since 2002, according to the school district.

On Tuesday afternoon in D.C. Superior Court, Shipley pleaded not guilty to charges that include first-degree child sexual abuse of a secondary education student. Charging documents indicate the alleged offenses occurred some time between May and June of 2018, when the Whitman High School student was 18 and Shipley was 44.

During his arraignment, prosecutors warned there could be more victims or witnesses who have yet to come forward — stating they believe Shipley also coached at a private club in D.C. and at Woodrow Wilson High School in the District. WTOP has reached out to D.C. Public Schools and awaits a response.

A letter from the Walt Whitman High School principal to the school community indicated Shipley is on administrative leave.

“These charges are deeply troubling and are a violation of the core values of our school and school system. We hold our employees to a high standard of character, and this behavior is completely unacceptable,” principal Robert W. Dodd said in the letter.

Counselors and support can be found on the WWHS Counseling Site. Students and families also can call 240-740-4800.

Anyone with information that could help investigators is asked to contact D.C. Police at 202-727-9099.

Shipley is free on his own recognizance and is ordered not to contact any students he recently or previously taught or coached, as well as anyone younger than 18 who isn’t a family member under supervision.

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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