Carlos Deangelo Bell could possibly spend the rest of his life in prison for sexually abusing kids. Bell served as a high school track coach at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School and La Plata High School in Charles County, Maryland. But instead of providing guidance to the students, he used his position to abuse young men.
Bell, 30, is HIV positive and often forced the young men to participate in unprotected sex. According to the Washington Post, at least 24 victims from the ages 12 to 14 were abused. Bell sexually abused the boys at his home and, at times, in classrooms.
The sexual abuse was initially discovered after a parent saw a text message from Bell on her child’s phone in December 2016. When she went to the school and the authorities, Bell was fired but he was not arrested. He was finally arrested on June 30, 2017. Police also discovered child porn on Bell’s home computers and found graphic images of Bell sexually assaulting his victims.
Each student who was abused will have to be tested for HIV and STDs, but police are still looking for 11 victims who have not been identified.
Bell was recently indicted on 119 counts, which include 12 counts of child sexual abuse (each count carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison), 38 counts of second-degree sex offense (each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison), two counts of third-degree sex offense (each count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison), two counts of second-degree assault (each count carries a maximum sentence 10 years in prison), 44 counts of filming child pornography (each count carries a maximum sentence 10 years in prison), two counts of solicitation of a minor (each count carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison); five counts of displaying obscene matter to a minor (each count carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison), and three counts of transmitting or attempting to transmit the HIV virus to another (each count carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison).
In all, Bell could be sentenced to 1,500 years in prison if he is convicted on all counts.
It’s important for parents, teachers, and school officials to do a better job of protecting students from sexual predators. Students must also be given the courage and space to speak out against any adult who attempts to abuse.