Charles County State’s Attorney Tony Covington (D) announced more than 100 additional charges for a former Charles County Public Schools instructional assistant and track coach, and raising the number of suspected child victims from 10 to 24.
On June 30, Carlos Deangelo Bell, 30, of Waldorf was arrested and charged with second-degree assault of a minor and production of child pornography, after police investigators allegedly found images of Bell sexually assaulting students at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School, where he had worked since 2015.
Monday afternoon, Covington held a press conference in front of the Charles County Courthouse to announce the unsealing of a grand jury indictment against Bell, including 119 additional counts, and covers a time frame from May 2015 until June 2017.
Covington said the charges include 12 counts of child sex abuse, 48 counts of second-degree sex offense, two counts of third-degree sex offense, two counts of second-degree assault, 44 counts of filming child pornography, two counts of solicitation of a minor, five counts of displaying obscene matter to a minor, three counts of transmitting or attempting to transmit the HIV virus to another, in addition to other charges.
Covington also said the number of suspected victims is now believed to be 24, 11 of whom have yet to be identified.
Covington said the investigation is still ongoing, and urged any member of the public with information to call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324).
“This indictment does not signal the end of this investigation. It is continuing as we speak,” Covington said.
Covington said Bell, like any other accused individual, is entitled to the presumption of innocence until found guilty by a court or jury.
“An indictment is simply allegations. Everybody, no matter the gravity of the charges, from murder down to theft, is entitled to be presumed innocent until proven guilty,” Covington said.
Covington declined to answer any further questions and left immediately after the announcement.
Following the announcement, CCPS sent out a press release stating that Stoddert Principal Kenneth Schroek has been reassigned to the Office of Supporting Services. The transfer is due to the ongoing investigation, said Kimberly Hill, CCPS superintendent.
The investigation into Bell began in November 2016 after the parent of a student at La Plata High School, where Bell worked as an indoor track coach, noted inappropriate text messages on the student’s phone, which were determined to have come from Bell.
Police found no further evidence at the time but submitted Bell’s electronic devices to the Maryland State Police Crime Lab, and Bell was reassigned to the central office, pending the outcome of the investigations. Bell failed to show up for work and was terminated, according to school officials.
In late June, the crime lab reported finding video on Bell’s electronic devices of Bell sexually abusing middle school-aged boys on school property and other locations.
Bell informed investigators he is HIV-positive, and police received evidence to support the claim.
Originally posted on The Maryland Independent: