Sex-abuse trial to start tomorrow

The Baltimore Sun

The jury trial for Joseph Samuel Ellis, the former Glenelg High School history teacher accused of having inappropriate sexual contact with several female students, is scheduled to begin tomorrow in Howard County Circuit Court.

Ellis, 26, of Elkridge, is charged with sex abuse of a minor, two counts of a fourth-degree sex offense, indecent exposure, displaying obscene material to a minor and misusing a telephone for obscene purposes.

Police arrested Ellis last Jan. 8, after students accused him of various crimes: exposing himself to one student in a classroom, sending inappropriate computer messages to another and meeting a third girl in a park to provide her with alcohol. He was fired in April.

Ellis was the first of three Howard County public school teachers arrested during the 2006-2007 school year, accused of having inappropriate sexual contact with students. Each has been fired.

The others were Alan Meade Beier, 53, a former chemistry and physics teacher at River Hill High School, and Kirsten Ann Kinley, 28, a former special-education teacher at Marriotts Ridge High School. Beier, who was accused of undressing and photographing a 16-year-old boy in his classroom and fondling a 17-year-old female student, was arrested Jan. 12. His trial was postponed and has not been rescheduled.

Kinley pleaded guilty in August to having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old boy while she was a teacher at Hammond Middle School in late 2004 and early 2005. The boy was not a student at Hammond Middle. Kinley was sentenced to serve 18 months at the county detention center in November.

Prosecutors dropped charges in November against Alan Silberman, a former Howard High School guidance counselor arrested in May after police said they found crack cocaine in his car.

In a pretrial motions hearing in November, a judge ruled that the contents of a cell phone and other items police obtained in Ellis' case can be used at trial, despite his attorney's argument that search warrants used to obtain the items from his home, cell phone and computer included language that was not specific enough.

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