Carlos Deangelo Bell has been accused of sexually assaulting 42 boys, ages ranging from 11 to 17 at a Maryland school. Bell was a teacher’s aide and track coach at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School, from May 2015 to June 2017. He is also HIV positive, and allegedly had unprotected sexual contact with the victims, though thus far, none of his victims have tested positive. A search of Bell’s electronic devices discovered obscene images of children. He has been indicted on 206 charges, including sexual abuse of a minor, first, second and third degree sex offense, and possession of child pornography. He is being held without bail, and faces life in prison if convicted.
As observed in a previous US Crime News article, Gym teacher convicted of groping six 12-year old girls, hebephiles, or sexual predators that prefer young teenage victims, are going to seek employment in places where they can access victims. This is not a cause for paranoia. Not all adults who choose work with children have nefarious motives. The vast majority of teachers and other staff at schools are there to make a positive impact on children by teaching them, guiding them, and preparing them to be adults. A very small number of adults who make deviant choices look on schools as hunting grounds for their predation. Sexual predators can be very prolific in such an environment.
Adults in positions of authority are trusted by teens. Coaches in particular can become very close to their athletes, and a degree of physical contact between coach and their athlete is an expectation. Appropriate boundaries must be maintained; in that the coach’s physical contact is in the context of training and correcting developing skills. High five’s, fist bumps, back slapping and handshakes to congratulate and celebrate victories are also expected. Sexual contact of any kind is strictly prohibited and always inappropriate. To have this trust betrayed can send a message that this behavior is commonplace, and adults are not to be trusted.
Similarly, if a young person’s first sexual experience involves force coercion, loss of control, and fear, in addition to the inappropriateness of a much older adult in a trusted position, what kind of message does this deliver about sex? They may develop overly rigid boundaries, and regard sex as something to be avoided, and not get into relationships, or hop from one relationship to another before intimacy can occur. An alternative is they may become indiscriminate and not develop any boundaries, allowing others to use their bodies at will.
The damage this causes to victims considerable. They may develop lifelong issues around trust and sexuality. Sexual predators must be detected early in their offending careers, and held accountable for their actions.