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Accused teacher to go to court

The Baltimore Sun

One of three Howard County teachers accused in separate incidents of having inappropriate sexual contact with students is scheduled make his first appearance tomorrow in Circuit Court.

Alan Meade Beier, 52, a chemistry and physics teacher at River Hill High School, was arrested Jan. 12 after he was accused of undressing and photographing a 16-year-old boy in his classroom. Police also have charged him with fondling a 17-year-old female student on two occasions, most recently in the fall.

Beier, who was chosen River Hill's 2001 Teacher of the Year by the senior class, is accused of sexual misconduct involving a third student at the school during April 2006. Because the charges associated with the third student are part of a grand jury indictment, details of that case have not been made public.

Beier is charged with four counts of sexual abuse of minors, three counts of fourth-degree sex offense and four counts of second-degree assault.

During tomorrow's scheduling conference, dates for a hearing on motions and a trial will be established, said T. Wayne Kirwan, spokesman for the Howard County state's attorney's office. In addition, Judge Diane O. Leasure will determine how many days Beier's trial will take.

Beier did not respond to messages from The Sun left on the home number listed in a River Hill High School phone directory. Beier's lawyer, Joshua R. Treem, did not return repeated phone calls.

Beier was arrested within a week of Joseph Samuel Ellis, 25, a teacher at Glenelg High School. Ellis is accused of exposing himself to one student in a classroom, sending suggestive computer messages to another and persuading a third to meet him at a park with the promise of alcohol.

Ellis was indicted on the charges of sexual abuse of a minor, two counts of fourth-degree sex offense, indecent exposure, display of obscene material to a minor and telephone misuse.

A third Howard County teacher, Kirsten Ann Kinley, 27, was charged last month with two counts of third-degree sex offense, two counts of fourth-degree sex offense and two counts of solicitation of a minor. Police allege that Kinley, a special-education teacher at Marriotts Ridge High School, had sex two years ago with a 15-year-old boy.

At the time of the alleged incidents, she worked at Hammond Middle School in Laurel. She had never taught her accuser or worked in his school, according to the school system.

All three teachers remain on paid administrative leave from their Howard County jobs.

Diane Mikulis, chairman of the Howard County Board of Education, said the arrests might help to prevent future incidents.

"Hopefully [the arrests] will serve as a deterrent, and hopefully it will serve as a means of encouraging students who come forward when something is wrong," she said.

The arrests have prompted the school system to re-evaluate how it addresses relationships between students and teachers.

Howard County does not include a specific session on student-teacher relationships during its new-teacher orientation. The orientation does have a session on child abuse.

Schools spokeswoman Patti Caplan said that Pamela Blackwell, director of student services for the county, is researching how to expand the current session on child abuse to include a discussion about appropriate relationships between teachers and students.

The system also is studying how to address the topic of inappropriate relationships in an annual video that teachers watch concerning child abuse.

"That would be an opportunity to bring up the relationship piece as a refresher," Caplan said.

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