Former Carroll County Public Schools teacher Kenneth Fischer, who is facing federal charges in relation to sexual abuse of a minor, is due back in court Tuesday, Dec. 18 for a rearraignment hearing.
While she could not comment directly on Fischer’s case, Marcia Murphy, with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said via email that “generally, a rearraignment indicates a change of plea.”
Fischer’s attorney, Michael Montemarano, said via email he could not speak to what would occur Tuesday in court.
Fischer, 40, was indicted Feb. 22 on federal charges related to the alleged use of a facility of interstate commerce to attempt to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity. Between Aug. 31 and Sept. 5 of 2017, Fischer allegedly used email and text messaging to attempt to coerce a minor to meet him for sex, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Maryland.
In May, a federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment against Fischer for production of child pornography, attempted production of child pornography, transportation of child pornography, receipt of child pornography and using a facility of interstate commerce to attempt to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity.
Fischer has previously pleaded not guilty to the charges, and in a September hearing, tried to be released into the custody of his father until the trial scheduled for March. That request was denied.
While Fischer’s attorney could not comment on what would happen at Tuesday’s hearing, documents from late September show conversations around a potential plea deal occurred. On Sept. 19, federal prosecutors filed a motion to seek more time under the Speedy Trial Act, a motion that was subsequently granted by a federal judge Sept. 20.
It was in that motion that the prosecution cited ongoing plea discussions as a need for more time.
“For the reasons set forth below, the Court should find that the parties need a longer period than is normally afforded under the Speedy Trial Act for review of the pertinent records, conduct of plea discussions, and pre-trial preparation in the event that no agreement is reached upon a plea,” the motion reads.
The document goes on to say, “Defense counsel and government counsel have been engaged in ongoing plea discussions. However, additional time is necessary so that the parties can continue to engage in plea negotiations to allow for undersigned counsel to consult internally and with victims regarding any potential plea offer. In light of the possibility of plea negotiations, it appears that the 70 days contemplated by the Speedy Trial Act for discovery, plea negotiations, and if necessary, trial preparation will be inadequate.”
Fischer, a former CCPS Teacher of the Year, was originally arrested Sept. 13, 2017, in Westminster as a fugitive from justice, then was extradited to Virginia, and has been in custody ever since. He was initially suspended without pay by the Carroll County Board of Education, and the school board voted to terminate him on Sept. 25, 2017.
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Fischer’s hearing Tuesday is scheduled for 3 p.m in the United States District Court, 101 West Lombard St., Baltimore.