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James M. Bennett High School

James M. Bennett High School, where a guidance counselor is accused of sexual assault.

Maryland Guidance Counselor Charged with 15 Sex Crime Charges

A guidance counselor at James M. Bennett High School in Salisbury has been arrested on 15 sex crime charges for alleged sexual abuse involving three students. 32-year-old Allen Edward Mitchell has been charged with second-degree rape and related offenses.

According to authorities in Wicomico County, Mitchell allegedly initiated multiple acts of sexual misconduct with minors from the school, including misconduct involving the use of social media.

The three victims, who were all under 18 years of age, told police that Mitchell used Snapchat to ask them for nude phones and sent photos of himself in return. Police say that they found pictures of the victims on Allen’s iPhone.

One of the victims had been babysitting for Mitchell since 2015 at his home in Fruitland. During this time period, he allegedly asked her to perform sexual acts with him.

Mitchell has been a full-time employee with Wicomico County Public Schools since 2010 and a guidance counselor since 2015. He has also worked as a JV basketball coach at Parkside.

Legal Recourse for Victims of School Employee Sexual Abuse

Attorney contributor Brian Kent of AbuseGuardian.com is a former criminal prosecutor who now represents survivors of sexual violence in civil lawsuits. We’ve asked him to discuss the legal options available to survivors of abuse by teachers, coaches, guidance counselors, and other school employees:

Teachers, coaches, and other school employees are supposed to be pillars of our community. Parents trust these educational professionals to help their children grow into well-educated and well-rounded adults. But tragically, sexual predators are often found in schools and other fields that involve working with children. When a school employee sexually abuses students, the entire community is affected. The perpetrators of these crimes must be held accountable, their victims and the community must get the support they need, and in some situations, the school must also be held accountable for failing to prevent the abuse.

Some cases of school employee sexual abuse only occur due to negligence on the part of the school district. For example, a school district might be considered negligent for failing to run a background check and hiring a new employee with a history of sexual misconduct. In those cases which involve negligence, the victims and their families may have grounds for a lawsuit.

If you or a loved one is a survivor of school employee sexual abuse, we understand the troubling times your family is facing. You can learn more about how the legal system can help you find justice by speaking to one of our experienced sexual abuse survivors attorneys.

Local News Coverage from CBS Baltimore

Location of James M. Bennett High School

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About Elizabeth Mesley

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