The city's spending panel is set to approve Wednesday a $50,000 settlement to the family of a girl who was allegedly molested by a mentor she met at her Baltimore middle school.
Criminal charges remain pending against Charles D. Shelly, 46, of the 3500 block of Cliftmont Ave., who is accused of sexual abuse of a minor and related counts. But the settlement, which is expected to be approved by the Board of Estimates, would resolve a $100,000 lawsuit filed against the city school system by the student's family.
Court records show Shelly has a record that includes convictions for theft, assault and destruction of property.
In a statement, city school officials said, "The safety of our students is our paramount concern.
"City schools policies and procedures are designed to help ensure that adults who are present in the school are appropriately supervised and screened," the statement said. "We will continue to work with schools to make sure that they have the proper safeguards in place."
Ivan Bates, Shelly's defense attorney, said the city was sending a "bad message" by settling the suit.
"It's obvious that she's lying about a number of things," Bates said of the student. "I understand the city felt they need to settle not because he did anything, but because the city did not do a background check on him. He had a criminal record, but no sexual record. It needs to be clear that Charles Shelly did not do anything wrong."
Police began investigating Shelly in December of 2011, when officers received a call from the girl's mother who told them her daughter had been groped by Shelly, whom she described as a school mentor, according to a police report.
The daughter attended Northeast Middle School and had known the suspect for at least a year, police said. The woman told police she became concerned about Shelly last year when she found out he was removing her daughter from school for mentoring, but "was assured that the suspect was a good man and had an excellent track record mentoring young girls and gaining their admittance into the elite all girls Western High School," according to the police report.
The woman told police she and her family grew to trust Shelly and invited him to dinners at their home.
According to documents submitted to the Board of Estimates, the student's family reported that Shelly "mentored several female students at Northeast Middle School and would remove them from class several times a day."
On Dec. 7, 2011, after school, police said the suspect drove the girl to a store where he purchased baby oil before driving her to a parking lot inside Herring Run Park. The girl said they began watching Christmas movies on an iPad before things got "weird."
Police said the suspect began touching the girl's back and breasts and rubbed baby oil on her back. He realized the park was about to close and drove to the parking lot at Lake Clifton High School, according to the police report.
There, he attempted to kiss the girl on the side of her neck, police said, who added that the suspect stopped when the girl said she was uncomfortable and asked to go home. The girl told police this behavior had happened previously, but she did not give details of those incidents.
School police were also notified of the incident.
School officials have denied that the suspect had any official role as a mentor at the school.
In an unrelated case, the Board of Estimates is also set to approve a $95,000 settlement payment to a man who suffered a broken rib in 2011 during an encounter with police. The man was handcuffed, but later released without charges.
Baltimore Sun Reporter Erica L. Green contributed to this article.