MCPS teacher, congressional candidate pleads guilty to sexually abusing student
Maxwell Bero, a teacher at Watkins Mill High School who ran against Congress Representative David Trone last year, pleaded guilty this week to sexually abusing a 14-year-old student in 2014 and 2015.
According to court records, Bero, of Clarksburg, sexually abused the student while the two were alone in a classroom while teaching at Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle School in Silver Spring.
Bero, 31, was arrested in August and charged with six counts of third degree sexual offenses and one count of child sexual abuse.
In a court hearing on Tuesday, Bero pleaded guilty to the single charge of child sexual abuse, according to online records.
He will be sentenced on August 19 after a pre-sentence investigation and mental health assessment. Bero was released from prison on bail.
In an emailed statement on Saturday afternoon, Bero’s attorney, René Sandler, wrote that Bero “has accepted responsibility at a plea hearing in court” and “looks forward to presenting information at the time. a sentencing hearing for review by the judge in this case. ”
An MCPS spokesperson could not immediately confirm Bero’s employment status with the district. He was initially put on leave when he was arrested in August. Bero’s name did not return any results in the online directory of district staff.
Bero ran unsuccessfully against incumbent President Trone for the Maryland Sixth District seat in Congress in the 2020 Democratic primary.
According to prosecution documents, the victim, who is now 19, was in a class with Bero when she was 14 and starting eighth grade at Lee Middle School in Silver Spring.
Court documents indicated that Bero had taught her history class and that during her lunch break, she and other students received help from Bero with homework. The victim, police said, spoke of family issues with Bero.
Police said Bero communicated about the assignments through the Kik Messenger messaging app and frequently exchanged messages with the victim.
Bero sent a nude photo of himself to the victim while he was at his bachelor party in late 2014 and she returned one of herself, according to charging documents. Police said the two continued to exchange nude photos and “sex fantasy” messages for the remainder of the school year.
According to the billing documents, Bero and the student often met alone at the end of the school day in her class, under the pretext that she needed help with homework or hours of learning by the teacher. service.
Sexual abuse took place during these meetings, police said.
Communication between Bero and the victim continued during his first year of high school, but ended in June 2016, according to police.
Caitlynn Peetz can be contacted at [email protected]