Montgomery County Public Schools teacher Maxwell Bero pleaded guilty Tuesday to sexually abusing a former student he taught in 2014 and 2015.
Bero, 31, was arrested by Montgomery County Police last summer and charged with six counts of third-degree sex offenses and one count of sex abuse of a minor.
The charges stem from the time Bero was a middle school teacher at Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle School in Silver Spring.
Bero slated to be sentenced on Aug. 19
Circuit Court Judge David A. Boynton will sentence Bero on Aug. 19, after a pre-sentencing investigation and mental health assessment are completed, court documents show.
Bero was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond on the condition that he has no unsupervised contact with children – including his young daughter – and refrain from using electronic devices.
District Court Judge Patricia Mitchell ordered Bero to adhere to pretrial services supervision.
Before his arrest, Bero lived in Clarksburg with his wife and daughter. He now lives with his mother in Frederick County.
Under Maryland criminal law, a person convicted of sexually abusing a minor could face up to 25 years in prison.
Bethesda Beat reported Saturday that Bero’s attorney, Rene Sandler, wrote that Bero “accepted responsibility at a plea hearing before the court” and “looks forward to presenting information at a sentencing hearing for the judge’s consideration in this matter.”
Bero on administrative leave from MCPS
MCPS placed Bero on administrative leave after his arrest, and subsequent charges were filed.
“These charges are deeply concerning and unacceptable and represent a complete breach of trust, responsibility, integrity, and the law,” MCPS said in a statement.
“We hold our employees to a high standard of character, and these allegations violate that. Please know that the safety of our students is our top priority, and we are committed to ensuring we maintain a safe learning environment for all.”
Police investigate Bero after victim, former student comes forward
The Montgomery County Police Special Victims Division (SVID) began investigating the alleged sexual abuse on July 28.
Court documents claim Bero sexually abused a 14-year-old eighth-grade student from Aug. 14, 2014, to June 12, 2015.
Bero’s victim told police that she and Bero became friends soon after moving to Maryland and enrolling in Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle School.
Her friendship with Bero, she said, began when she and other students would spend their lunch periods in Bero’s history classroom to get extra help on classroom assignments.
The victim, whose name has not been released to the public, told detectives that she “disclosed her family issues to Bero and the struggles of being a bi-racial student.”
Charging documents say Bero posted his Kik Messanger’s social media account username on his classroom board “for students to message him directly with questions about assignments.”
Bero and his victim regularly engaged on social media, court documents say.
Bero exchanged nude photos with victim during bachelor party
Bero’s victim told detectives that she received “an unsolicited nude photo from Bero” sometime in 2014. She said Bero sent her the explicit photo of himself while consuming alcohol at his bachelor party.
“After sending a full-frontal image of his naked body, Bero asked the victim to send one in return,” court documents claim.
Bero’s victim told police she sent Bero “an image of her bare chest with her hair covering her breasts.”
Court papers allege that “Bero and the victim continued to exchange nude images and messages to related ‘sexual fantasies’ for the remainder of the school year.”
The victim said Bero took photographs of himself in the middle school’s locker room and from the bathroom at his home residence.
She said Bero also sent her photographs of himself masturbating.
Victim said Bero used his middle school classroom to abuse her
Bero’s victim says she and Bero met alone in his classroom during lunch and engaged in sexual activity.
She said Bero would “graze across her breasts and buttocks” while he reached for items inside his classroom.
Inside Bero’s classroom, the victim said she would “sit on Bero’s lap, straddling him” while rubbing “her vaginal area over Bero’s penis.”
The woman said her sexual encounters with Bero would occur “in front of a supply closet, that when opened, provided concealment from people walking by the classroom door.”
Bero’s unsuccessful congressional campaign
Trone defeated Bero in the June primary.