A former school aide and track coach, who is HIV-positive, has reportedly been arrested on charges of molesting several male students, according to the Charles County (Md.) Sheriff’s Office.
Carlos Bell, who was an instructional assistant at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School and the head indoor track coach at La Plata High School, was arrested on Friday and hit with three charges of producing child pornography and two counts of assault.
The investigation is ongoing, and more charges are expected to emerge as it continues. Thus far, Bell has been accused of sexually abusing at least seven males on school property as well as at his home, with the possibility of the abuse occurring at a few other locations.
The sheriff’s office said that the investigation into Bell began in December when a parent became concerned about “electronic messages” that Bell had been sending to her child. When the investigation began, Bell was immediately removed from the school and was banned from coaching.
“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.”
When detective searched Bell’s work computer, they found nothing, but a search of his home computer showed that he was linked to the production of child pornography. Charles County Sheriff Troy D. Berry said “some of the evidence includes graphic images of Bell sexually assaulting victims.”
Because Bell is HIV-positive, officials are working to identify the victims so that they can be notified of the danger and tested for the disease. Thus far, two have been tested and have tested negative, with two others identified and expected to be tested soon.