Convicted of abuse, ex-teacher to appeal

The Baltimore Sun

A former River Hill High School teacher who was sentenced this week to four years in prison for undressing a student and photographing him naked will appeal his case, his attorney said.

However, Alan Meade Beier, 54, of Columbia must go to prison until the appellate court rules, Howard County Circuit Judge Diane O. Leasure ordered Monday. Beier was convicted of sexual abuse of a minor and second-degree assault in March. His attorney, Joshua Treem, argued throughout Beier's trial that his client's actions did not constitute exploitation under Maryland law because he was not seeking sexual gratification.

According to prosecutors, Beier asked a 16-year-old student to pose in photographs and help him fix lighting on his camera for community service hours. The teen testified during the trial that Beier pulled down the student's underwear on two occasions during the photo shoot.

On Friday, Leasure denied Beier's request for a new trial. On Monday, the judge denied a motion for Beier to be released on bond pending a ruling from the appeals court. Leasure said she would reconsider if the appeals process takes longer than usual.

Before the judge delivered the sentence, Treem argued that Beier should be put on probation and not receive jail time. He pointed out that Beier had taught for about 30 years and was named River Hill's Teacher of the Year in 2001.

"The state has ignored his history of good works and help," the attorney said. "Mr. Beier is a good man who made a bad mistake."

In his allocution to the judge, Beier vowed to never commit such crimes again.

"I have been so deeply distressed," he said.

But prosecutors argued that Beier's actions constituted exploitation and abuse.

Leasure sentenced Beier to 10 years in prison with six suspended for the sex abuse conviction and five years with three suspended, to be served concurrently to the first sentence, for the assault. She also sentenced him to five years of probation upon his release.

Beier is also charged with grabbing a female student's behind on two occasions and with sexual misconduct with a male student. The trials in those cases are scheduled for August.

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