Three former employees of The Jefferson School in Maryland have been arrested on child abuse and sexual assault charges. According to the State’s Attorney’s Office, the trio committed sexual offenses against two then-students, who were 17 and 18 years old at the time.
35-year-old Jermaine Thomas, 27-year-old Ariel Eppard, and 32-year-old Wesley Dean were all arrested on Wednesday. According to the state’s attorney’s office, child protective services contacted the state police on June 5 concerning allegations of child sex offenses at the school.
According to law enforcement, an investigation uncovered evidence that Thomas and Eppard sexually assaulted one of the victims both on and off school property. Dean is accused of committing sex offenses with both victims on-campus. These crimes allegedly started in late 2018 and continued into 2019.
All three suspects were employees who were responsible for supervising students at the special education day school and residential treatment center for kids and adults with emotional and behavioral disabilities.
Thomas has been charged with three counts of sex abuse of a minor and seven counts of child pornography/filming a sex act.
Dean is charged with one count of sex abuse of a minor, one count of fourth-degree sex offense by a person in a position of authority, and two counts of court-ordered provider engaging in a sex act.
Eppard is charged with two counts of sex abuse of a minor, two counts of fourth-degree sex offense by a person in a position of authority, and two counts of court-ordered provider engaging in a sex act.
In a statement released on Wednesday evening, The Jefferson School announced that the three employees had been fired.
This case remains under investigation.
Attorney contributor Aaron Blank fights for victims rights in civil lawsuits. Brian has offered to share some general info regarding the legal rights of private school sex abuse victims and their families:
Schools have a critical legal duty to make sure that their students are safe from the threat of sexual predators. Sadly, these predators often seek out positions in education and other fields where they will be trusted to look after children. Our schools must make sure that their employees are trustworthy people and that proper safeguards are in place to protect students from predators.
When a school employee is arrested for allegedly sexually abusing a student, it’s important to determine if the school met their legal duty to protect their students. Some cases of school employee sex abuse may have been prevented if not for negligence by the school – such as failing to investigate previous sexual misconduct complaints involving the employee.
In cases involving negligence, the victims and their families may have grounds for a lawsuit against the school.
If you or your child is a victim of sexual abuse by a school employee, you can learn more about your family’s legal options by speaking with an experienced sex abuse victims attorney.