Baltimore County police arrested a 45-year-old Hereford High School English teacher yesterday and charged him with four counts of child abuse for allegedly kissing and fondling a 17-year-old student in 1984-1985.
John Francis Sherman of the 17000 block of Troyer Road in northern Baltimore County was arrested about 6 p.m. at the school, where he coaches cross country. He was there to help chaperon a dance, police said.
He was taken to the Cockeysville precinct and later released on a $50,000 personal pledge. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
School spokeswoman Myra Treiber said that as of yesterday, Mr. Sherman -- who has taught for 13 or 14 years -- was placed on administrative leave. It was not known last night if the leave was paid, and Ms. Treiber had no further comment.
Sgt. Stephen R. Doarnberger, a police spokesman, said the alleged victim, now 26, came to police Thursday to report what allegedly happened when she was a student. Police said she claimed that on several occasions, Mr. Sherman asked her to go to supply closets or rooms to retrieve something, then followed her in, and fondled and kissed her.
Similar incidents reportedly occurred after school at the victim's and teacher's homes. The woman told police that during one such incident, the teacher undressed himself and lay on top of her, but did not have sexual intercourse, Sergeant Doarnberger said.
Hereford High Principal Ray Gross, reached at the school last night, said only that "the issue is in the hands of legal authorities" and that Maryland laws and school procedures were being followed.