A former Maryland school aide and track coach, who is HIV-positive, has been arrested on the suspicion of sexually assaulting several students. Simultaneously, the man has been accused of recording some of the abuse, which may have taken place on school property. The Charles County Sheriff’s Office believes Carlos Deangelo Bell assaulted at least seven males students. Most of the victims are of middle school age.
After a six-month investigation, Bell was finally taken into custody at his home on Friday. A grand jury indicted him on the same day on felony charges, including the production of child pornography and misdemeanor counts of second-degree assault. The sheriff’s office has confirmed that more charges are expected as the investigation continues to unfold.
Bell previously worked as an instructional assistant at Waldorf’s Benjamin Stoddert Middle School and as indoor track coach at La Plata High School. He was removed from both positions when the probe was initiated. Authorities have already begun taking steps to test the victims for HIV. Thus far, police are not aware of any positive HIV tests from the victims.
The investigation was started in December after detectives received a tip regarding “possible inappropriate behavior with a student while he was coaching staff”. A parent became suspicious after finding suspicious text messages on her child’s phone. Those text messages were sexual in nature. Bell’s electronic devices were collected and sent to the Maryland State Police crime lab. Sexually explicit images with young boys were retrieved form the devices.
Charles County Sheriff, Troy Berry, admitted that some of the evidence showed Bell sexually assaulting the victims. “Some of the crimes appeared to have been committed on school property, and others at his home in Waldorf.” Bell confirmed to investigators that he was HIV positive. Subsequently, investigators found evidence to support the claim.
CNN has attempted to contact Bell’s attorney with no success. While the county public defender’s office has denied representing him, online court records do no list a lawyer for Bell. At this time, Bell is being held without bail.
The superintendent for Charles County schools, Kimberly A. Hill, has apologized after calling the allegations horrifying. Bell initially started with the school system in 2014. He worked at the JP Ryon Elementary School in Waldorf as an instructional assistant from 2014 to March 2015. Then, he took a similar position at Stoddert Middle. For the 2015-16 school year, Bell served as the indoor track coach at Maurice J. McDonough High School in Pomfret. He took the same position at La Plata High in November.
Hill confirmed that Mr. Bell was removed from the positions on December 22, 2016. On Wednesday, Hill sent out a message to staff members and parents encouraging them to remain fully cooperative with investigators. The district also intends to review their safety protocols.