Crime: Sex charges against substitute teacher may be first of their kind in Anne Arundel County - PressFrom - US
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CrimeSex charges against substitute teacher may be first of their kind in Anne Arundel County

21:30  18 june  2019
21:30  18 june  2019 Source:   msn.com

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Sex charges against substitute teacher may be first of their kind in Anne Arundel County© Courtesy photo

The substitute teacher arrested Monday for what police say was a sexual relationship with a student at North County High School was cited under a law amended five years ago to target just such allegations.

Anne Arundel County school officials said the woman may be the first county substitute teacher charged under the law prohibiting contract employees from having sex with students.

What began with a teacher and student exchanging phone numbers and usernames to Snapchat — a smartphone application enabling users to share photos that quickly disappear — soon escalated into a sexual relationship off campus, police wrote in charging documents filed in District Court.

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Alexis Mercedes Boberg, 25, of the 8200 block of Quarterfield Road in Severn, turned herself in to authorities Monday at the Anne Arundel County Police Western District Station. She was released on her recognizance the same day.

Court records show that a private defense attorney entered their appearance for Boberg. The attorney’s name was not listed and Boberg could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

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In 2012, prosecutors from Anne Arundel County began asking lawmakers to make it a crime for part-time school employees — such as coaches and substitute teachers — to have sexual relationships with high-school students past the age where they can legally consent.

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At the time, a 2010 state law already barred sexual contact between "full-time permanent" employees who hold a "position of authority" over students who are minors at the schools where they work — even if the student is older than 16, Maryland's age of consent. The list in the law included “principal, vice principal, teacher or school counselor."

The law, however, said nothing about part-timers, volunteers and contract workers, such as substitute teachers and coaches who may be influential in high school students' lives.

Boberg’s relationship with the teen began in early May, when they began meeting regularly at school, police wrote.

But the two soon planned to meet away from the Center for Applied Technology North in Severn — where Boberg substituted and the teen took classes, police wrote.

First, it was a snowball stand in Glen Burnie, police wrote. The teenager arrived with his friend and the three bought snowballs and talked in Boberg’s car, according to charging documents.

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Boberg drove them to a liquor store and bought both teens mini bottles of rum, police wrote. They drank and chatted, and then the teens left, police said.

All the while, police said, Boberg and the teen exchanged text and Snapchat messages. Then, Boberg started sending sexually explicit photos, police wrote.

Two cases in Anne Arundel County courts, one of them from a Montgomery County school and the other stemming from an incident at Spalding High School in Severn, became the tipping point in changing Maryland’s law.

The late Frank Weathersbee, then county state’s attorney, said the 2010 law's limitations prevented him from charging a part-time coach at Spalding with a sex offense after a sexual relationship with a student, though he was convicted of another crime.

And in the Montgomery County case, county prosecutors dropped charges against a teacher accused of having a sexual relationship with a student at another school where he worked as a part-time coach. He denied the allegations. The case was transferred to Anne Arundel prosecutors because of perceived conflict in the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office.

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Initial attempts at changing the law in 2012 failed. In the following year, incidents in several other counties increased the pressure for change.

But it would not be until 2014 that the law was changed to include the words “employed by or under contract with a public or private preschool.” A misdemeanor, the crime carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Since then, only a handful of cases have been widely reported citing the fourth-degree sex offense involving a part-time employee in Anne Arundel County, and those have been almost exclusively against male coaches, news reports show.

Bob Mosier, county schools spokesman, said he could not recall any other instance of a substitute teacher in county schools facing such charges.

In a summary of the charges filed by police, investigators said the teen next met Boberg May 24 when he visited her grandparents' house in Severn. When the teen got there he waited outside, until the substitute teacher led him to the back bedroom and they had sex, police wrote.

They would meet again three days later at Marley Station Mall, police wrote. They walked around the mall and then returned to Boberg’s car, where they engaged in sexual activity, police wrote.

On June 4, county police officers responded to North County High School where the teen and his mother reported the sex offense, charging documents detail.

An interview at the Child Advocacy Center followed on June 5. The teen told detectives details about the sexual relationship, police wrote.

The boy’s mother applied for a peace order the same day, asking the courts to order Boberg to keep away from her son.

“During the last 20 days, my son has been manipulated into a sexual relationship (with) his substitute teacher at school,” the teen’s mother wrote in an application for court protection.

Detectives simultaneously retraced the teen’s footsteps as they executed a search warrant at Boberg’s residence, recovered relevant items and took them into evidence, police said.

Rick Hutzell contributed to this story.

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