An Anne Arundel County schoolteacher was charged yesterday with sexually abusing one of his students at Glen Burnie High School 17 years ago, county police said, becoming the fourth county teacher arrested on similar charges this year.
Thomas A. Newman, 44, is charged with sexual child abuse and perverted sex practices.
Investigators said the charges against Mr. Newman, who now teaches at the Center for Applied Technology South, were first reported in June 1990, but prosecutors decided then that they did not have enough evidence.
The charges resurfaced last summer after the alleged victim, now 33, read of the case against Ronald W. Price, the former Northeast High School teacher sentenced Thursday to 26 years in prison for having sex with students.
Mr. Newman was arrested at 5:45 a.m. yesterday at his home in the 7900 block of Castle Hedge Drive, Glen Burnie, and he was later released on his own recognizance by a District Court commissioner.
Carol Parham, acting school superintendent, told Mr. Newman not to report yesterday to his job as a technology education teacher. School officials will decide Monday whether to suspend him, said school spokeswoman Nancy Jane Adams.
Mr. Newman did not answer his telephone or knocks at his door yesterday.
The former student reported June 19, 1990, to Maggie Sledge, then the principal at Glen Burnie, that she had sex with Mr. Newman in a classroom at the school and at her home during the 1976-1977 school year when she was 16.
Ms. Sledge notified C. Berry Carter, who was an assistant superintendent at the time, and forwarded the information to the Department of Social Services, said Officer Terry Crowe, police spokesman.
Officer Crowe said that social services officials decided not to get involved in the case because the accuser had become an adult and the case then was nearly 15 years old. But they sent the complaint to Sgt. Robert Jaschik, then head of the police sex crimes unit, and he took the complaint to Assistant State's Attorney Cynthia Ferris.
Officer Crowe said that Sergeant Jaschik and Ms. Ferris apparently discussed only the alleged sexual contact in the girl's house.
Ms. Ferris said yesterday that she had "incomplete information" when the matter first was brought to her attention in 1990, but when the case came up again two weeks ago, prosecutors got the information they needed and filed the charges.
Sergeant Jaschik told the accuser in 1990 that they didn't have enough evidence and advised her to notify school officials.
On July 23, 1990, the former student wrote to Larry Lorton, then school superintendent, telling him of the alleged abuse. On Sept. 4, 1990, Mr. Carter wrote to the woman to tell her he could do nothing about the charges because Mr. Newman denied them and she had no proof, Officer Crowe said. The allegations were dropped.
On Aug. 11, 1993, the woman read about the charges against Price and contacted Acting Superintendent Carol Parham to tell her of the alleged abuse. Ms. Parham forwarded the complaint to police who collected additional evidence and charged Mr. Newman only with the sexual contact at the school.
According to charging documents, Mr. Newman, who taught accounting at Glen Burnie High School during the 1976-1977 school year, befriended the girl when she was going through "a troubled time" in her life and was "vulnerable." Their conversations eventually became sexual in nature and led to one incident in a room on the third floor of the school's old main building during school, the documents said.
Mr. Newman began teaching at Annapolis Senior High School in March 1974. In September 1974, he transferred to Glen Burnie High School, where he was the business education teacher and work study coordinator until August 1990, when he was transferred to the Center of Applied Technology South, school officials said.
Aretha Stubbs, principal of the school, said that Mr. Newman is a student work study coordinator, helping students find and keep after-school jobs.
Northeast teachers Laurie Cook and Charles Yocum also have been charged with child abuse. Their trials are scheduled later this year.