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Carlos Bell pleads guilty

Carlos Bell of Waldorf MD

Carlos DeAngelo Bell

La Plata, MD - Tony Covington, State’s Attorney for Charles County, along with Charles County Sheriff Troy Berry announced on Friday, Jan. 5, that Carlos DeAngelo Bell has pleaded guilty.

Bell, 30 of Waldorf, was facing 206 charges in Charles County ranging from inappropriate sexual contact with minors to distribution of marijuana. During a press conference, Covington reported that Bell went before Charles County Circuit Court Administrative Judge Amy J. Bragunier earlier in the afternoon and pleaded guilty to 27 counts. The maximum penalty to the counts Bell pleaded guilty to total 294 years, however, Covington stated that as part of the agreement Bell would be sentenced to no more that 190 years in prison. In all, Bell pleaded guilty to five counts each of sexual abuse of a minor and attempted transmission of HIV; four counts each of filming child pornography and display of obscene matter to a minor; three counts each of third-degree sexual offense and solicitation of a minor; two counts of second-degree sexual offense, force; and one count of second-degree assault.

Bell, who is a former instructional assistant at Benjamin Stoddard Middle School and former coach for the La Plata High School track team, was charged in July of 2017 after police learned he sexually assaulted several students and used those assaults to create child pornography.

Bell recorded the abuse of the middle school students in a classroom at Stoddard, at his home and in other locations. Police say the time frame of abuse spans about two years from May of 2015 through June of 2017. The ages of the alleged victims at the time the offenses were committed range from 11 years old to 17 years old.

After his arrest, it was revealed that Bell was HIV positive. So far, none of the victims have tested positive for HIV. Bell also previously worked as an aide at J.P. Ryon Elementary School. He was hired in the fall of 2014. Superintendent of Charles County Schools Kimberly Hill said two criminal background checks, with fingerprints, revealed no previous criminal history and Bell was cleared for employment.

Charles County returned three indictments against Bell for a total of 206 charges. Those indictments covered 28 identified alleged victims and 14 unidentified alleged victims.

Bell was set to go on trial starting Monday, Jan. 8.

In November, a federal grand jury indicted Bell in 10 counts of exploitation of minors for the purpose of producing child pornography. According to the indictment, Bell did knowingly employ, use, persuade, entice, and coerce a minor to engage in any sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct, and the visual depiction was produced using materials that had been mailed, shipped, and transported in and affecting interstate and foreign commerce by any means, including by computer during the period of Jan. 1, 2014 to Dec. 22, 2016.

These 10 counts are in addition to the three indictments against Bell in Charles County.

During the press conference, Hill affirmed that Charles County Public Schools officials "cooperated fully" with the investigation and is now implementing nationally recognized Center for Children training for all staff members in an effort to ensure such incidents never occur within the system again. Hill said she was thankful that the defendant's plea will prevent a trial which "could have caused further trauma to the victims."

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Contact Joy Shrum at j.shrum@thebaynet.com

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