A former Maryland teacher was charged Tuesday with sexually abusing a middle school student in 2015, one of dozens of employees in the same district arrested for such crimes in recent years.
Melissa Marie Curtis, 31, was teaching at Montgomery Village Middle School when the alleged abuse occurred, according to Fox News.
In October, the victim, now an adult, went to the Montgomery County police to report Curtis for abuse he allegedly suffered at 14.
In one instance, Curtis allegedly touched the boy inappropriately inside a classroom at school, according to NBC Washington. The victim also alleged Curtis supplied the minor with drugs and alcohol before encouraging him to perform sexual acts.
After a police investigation, a warrant for Curtis’ arrest was issued on Oct. 31 on charges of sexual abuse of a minor and multiple counts of third- and fourth-degree sexual offenses.
Curtis turned herself into police custody on Tuesday.
Detectives reportedly believe there may be additional victims, according to Fox News, though police didn’t release further details.
Over the last many years, numerous teachers have been accused or charged of sexual crimes against students at Montgomery County Public Schools.
In April, the school board heard complaints against a former principal, Joel Beidleman, who was facing multiple allegations of sexual harassment, according to Fox 5.
“This board promoted a man who’s sexually harassed and bullied and [sic] staff at not one but several schools and who was inappropriate with students,” said an MCPS parent, according to Fox 5. “MCPS has been sweeping things under the rug and on the shelf for years. You’ve put your self-interest and elitist reputation while not protecting and supporting students and staff for decades.”
In 2020, Maxwell Bero, a former MCPS teacher and coach who ran from Congress, was sentenced to eight years in prison for sexually abusing two students, according to WTOP News.
He pleaded guilty to inappropriately touching two students inside his classroom and sending nude photos of himself to a student.
On Aug. 26, 2020, MCPS informed parents and community members of the arrest.
“These charges are deeply concerning and unacceptable and represent a complete breach of trust, responsibility, integrity and the law,” the press release stated.
Peter Wright Priest Mason, 43, a special education teacher at MCPS, was arrested and charged with sexual abuse in 2019. He allegedly began talking with a 17-year-old student on a mobile app before the relationship got physical, according to MoCo360.
In 2017, Salvador Rodriguez, a bus driver for MCPS, was arrested on two counts of sexual abuse of minor, four counts of third-degree sex offences, and four counts of fourth-degree sex offenses, according to a press release. Though police arrested Rodriguez in early Feburary, the school district didn’t inform families or the community until March.
Rodriguez was sentenced to 11 months in prison, 5 years on probation and was register as a lifetime sex offender, not to have unsupervised contact with minors, MoCo360 reported.
In 2017, John Vigna, a former MCPS elementary teacher, was sentenced to 48 years in prison for sexually abusing four female students, according to Fox 5. Vigna was 50 years old at the time of the alleged assaults.
In 2016, Todd Scriber, a former teacher at MCPS, was arrested on three counts of sexual abuse of a minor. Once again, the district released the same apologetic statement to the parents in the district.
“I know that our community finds the allegations in the charging documents as disturbing as I do,” the press release reads. “The charges represent a serious breach of trust, responsibility, integrity and the law.”
In 2014, substitute teacher Jose Pineda was arrested after being accused of inappropriately touching a middle school student. MCPS withheld the information for parents and the community for 38 days, according to The MoCo Student.
The year before, a former MCPS service worker was arrested for watching female middle school students change their clothes in the girl’s locker room. Josh Greenberg admitted to two incidents and was charged with two counts of visual surveillance with prurient intent, according to Montgomery Community Media.
Darrien Tucker, a gym teacher for MCPS, was also charged with “five counts of conducting visual surveillance of another person in a private place without that person’s consent and with prurient intent.”
Eight years after Michael Riley retired from MCPS in 2010, MCPS notified the community that he had been “charged with child abuse and molestation” over an incident that allegedly occurred early in his teaching career.
Multiple employees have also been charged with possession of child pornography over the years, according to local reports, including Grant Tozer, Peter Flynn, Daemon Alan Dartouzos and Kevin Bremerman.