Teacher at Baltimore's St. Frances Academy charged with sexual abuse, accused of relationship with student

A 27-year-old teacher at Baltimore’s St. Frances Academy has been arrested after being accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a 15-year-old student, according to police and court records.

Ryan Penalver, a history teacher at the Catholic school in the Johnston Square neighborhood since 2012, was charged with sexual abuse of a minor, third-degree sex offense, two fourth-degree sex offenses, second-degree child abuse and perverted practice, court records show.

The school received a tip that Penalver was involved with a student last week and reported the issue to Child Protective Services, school principal Deacon Curtis Turner said in a letter sent to students’ parents Friday. Child Protective Services notified the Baltimore Police Department, which investigated the incident and arrested Penalver on Friday, police spokesman Det. Jeremy Silbert said.

Penalver is no longer an employee of the school, according to Turner’s letter.

“Please know that we do our absolute best to make sure that our teachers and staff are of high moral quality and that they embody the values treasured by this community,” the letter read. “As the head of this school, know that I am wholly committed to making sure that the school environment is always a safe one.”

Silbert said no other students have come forward to report problems with Penalver.

“Right now it appears there was only one victim,” Silbert said.

Penalver was released Monday, court records show. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 12. He did not have an attorney listed in court records, and could not immediately be reached for comment.

smeehan@baltsun.com

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