A former Montgomery County, Maryland teacher was sentenced Friday to eight years in prison for sexually abusing a pair of students. Prosecutors said some of the abuse happened in his classroom.
Maxwell Bero, 31, told the judge that his conduct was inappropriate and morally reprehensible.
“For a long time, my mind could not accept that it was me who participated in this inappropriate criminal conduct,” Bero said in court. “I have accepted that the good I have done does not erase or minimize my conduct which brings me in court.”
Between 2014 and 2015, Bero was a history teacher at Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle School in Silver Spring, Maryland.
He pleaded guilty to groping and fondling the first victim inside his classroom at the end of school. She was 14 years old at the time.
Bero admitted sending nude photos of himself to a second student and inappropriately touching her during a club activity in his classroom as well.
Prosecutors said Bero, who was also a one-time candidate for Congress, used social media to groom the girls and gain their trust.
In court, one of the victims told the judge that she suffers from clinical depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“I cry almost every day,” said the victim, who is now 21. “I have tremendous trouble feeling safe in my own body.”
Bero’s 8-year sentence is part of a plea deal with prosecutors.