A Baltimore County judge has ordered a former Gilman School teacher charged with sexually assaulting students be held without bail.
Baltimore County Police arrested Christopher Kenji Bendann, 38, on Friday, after he was fired Jan. 20 from his position at the Gilman School.
He faces felony charges of rape and sex abuse of a minor and misdemeanor charges of sexual contact and perverted practice, all of which stem from the alleged abuse of a teenager between 2016 and 2019. District Court Judge Karen Pilarski determined Bendann should be held without bond at a bail review hearing Monday afternoon.
The school terminated Bendann after receiving reports that in July and August 2021 he gave children alcohol, brought them to St. Paul’s School and Meadow Regional Park and asked them to take their clothes off and run around naked in front of him, according to charging documents. Police said other students and alumni were familiar with “this type of behavior” by Bendann.
An adult graduate of Gilman told a forensic interviewer that when he was in eighth or ninth grade, Bendann began giving him and other students rides home after they had been drinking. In exchange, Bendann would watch the children run naked outside at St. Paul’s or at Meadow Regional Park, charging documents said.
The victim reported that Bendann began sexually abusing him when he was 15. The teacher also took nude photos of the victim, which he used to threaten the victim to stay silent about the abuse, according to the charging papers.
Court papers detailed abuse that “escalated” over time. The victim said that when he attempted to “block” Bendann, he would begin harassing the victim’s friends and threaten to release nude photos, charging documents said.
“It takes a tremendous amount of courage for any victim under these circumstances to come forward,” said Steve Silverman, an attorney representing the victim.
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Bendann taught social studies at Gilman for 15 years and graduated from the school in 2003, according to his LinkedIn page. Charging documents said he also was an adviser to middle school students.
His attorney, Kobie Flowers, did not respond to a Monday afternoon request for comment.
On Friday, a spokesperson said the school was aware of his arrest.
“We are committed to supporting our students and families as well as our broader Gilman community as they process this devastating news,” Brooke Blumberg said.
A 2021 investigative report commissioned by the school documented decades of alleged sexual abuse of students between the 1950s and 2008.
Silverman urged any other victims to contact Baltimore County Police or the Baltimore County FBI Field Office.
Baltimore County Police also have urged other victims to come forward. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Crimes Against Children Unit at 410-887-7720 or Child Protective Services at 410-887-8463.