A potential plea deal is being discussed for former Carroll County Public Schools teacher Kenneth Brian Fischer, who is facing charges in federal court of sexual abuse of a minor, according to documents filed toward the end of September.
Fischer, 40, was originally indicted for a sexual offense involving a minor in February. A superseding indictment added related charges last spring.
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. In the motion, the prosecution cites 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 later 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.”
According to the documents, defense counsel Michael Montemarano indicated he consented to the filing of the motion.
In granting the Sept. 19 motion, Judge Richard D. Bennett ordered that “all time between July 20, 2018, and November 1, 2018, shall be excluded from calculations of the amount of time that has expired under the Speedy Trial Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3161 in this case.”
“It is not unusual for there to be plea discussions in federal criminal cases,” Marcia Murphy, with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said via email.
On Sept. 13, Judge Beth P. Gesner denied that request, instead continuing Fischer’s detainment in the Chesapeake Detention Facility in Baltimore until trial, which is scheduled for March.
Both Montemarano and the federal prosecutor’s office declined comment for this article.
Fischer 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 last year, 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 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.