A former school aide and track coach has been accused of molesting several male students, according to the Charles County (Md.) Sheriff’s Office.
Officials said Carlos Bell told them he was HIV positive and evidence was recovered to corroborate his statement.
Bell, 30, was arrested Friday on three charges of producing child pornography and two counts of assault. More charges are expected in the ongoing investigation, officials said.
According to investigators, Bell sexually abused at least seven males on school property, his home and possibly at other locations.
Investigators are asking anyone whose child may have had contact with Bell to talk with their children about this matter. With the assistance of the FBI, a phone line has been established for anyone with concerns about their children relating to this case. That phone number is 1-800-CALL-FBI.
According to the sheriff’s office, an investigation began in December after a high school student’s parent raised concerns about “electronic messages” from Bell to her child.
Bell, who was an instructional assistant at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School and also the head indoor track coach at La Plata High School, was immediately removed from the school and barred from coaching.
Charles County Public Schools said Bell hasn’t worked in any school building since Dec. 22, 2016.
“Student safety is job one, and clearly we have work to do to determine where we fell short in this instance, and how we can ensure that this will never happen again,” said CCPS superintendent Kimberly Hill in an emailed statement. “Our immediate attention will be focused on providing support to any students that may have been affected by Mr. Bell’s actions.”
At a news conference, Charles County Sheriff Troy D. Berry said “some of the evidence includes graphic images of Bell sexually assaulting victims.”
Investigators said they have identified four of the alleged victims, and two have been tested. Neither tested positive. They are expecting the other two to be tested and are trying to notify the other three.
Bell is currently being held at the Charles County Detention Center with no bond.
Below is the full statement released by Charles County Public Schools Monday evening:
Dear CCPS Staff, Parents and Guardians:
The Charles County State’s Attorney has charged one of our former employees, Carlos D. Bell, with sexual misconduct charges, including second degree assault and production of child pornography. Mr. Bell was arrested and charges were filed Friday in a sealed indictment made public today during a bond hearing. Mr. Bell, a former instructional assistant at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School, has not worked in any school building since Dec. 22, 2016. He remains jailed without bond. The Sheriff’s Office has alleged Bell sexually assaulted several male students and believe there could be more victims.
At 2 p.m. today, the State’s Attorney, Sheriff, Health Officer and I will present public information during a press conference about the case. The Sheriff’s Office began investigating Mr. Bell in December 2016 after receiving a complaint from a high school parent who raised concern about electronic messages from Mr. Bell to her child. Mr. Bell was also the head indoor track coach at La Plata High School.
Once notified of the investigation, CCPS immediately removed Mr. Bell from his duties as an employee and directed that he have no contact with students or student athletes. We have cooperated fully with the Sheriff’s Office throughout the investigation, and we will continue to work with them to ensure that all facts are uncovered and appropriate actions are taken.
I am alarmed and saddened by these alleged incidents, some of which occurred at school. Student safety is job one, and clearly we have work to do to determine where we fell short in this instance, and how we can ensure that this will never happen again. Our immediate attention will be focused on providing support to any students that may have been affected by Mr. Bell’s actions.
Mr. Bell was first employed by Charles County Public Schools in September 2014. In addition to Stoddert and La Plata, he also worked briefly at J.P. Ryon Elementary School and as the 2015-16 school year indoor track coach at Maurice J. McDonough High School.
I am sending this letter today to all CCPS staff members and parents who have provided the school system with an email address. We understand the allegations are alarming to anyone whose children might have had contact with Mr. Bell. We encourage you to talk with your children, and if they report anything inappropriate whatsoever, please call 1-800-225-5324.
Kimberly A. Hill, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools