La Plata, MD – In the wake of revelations Monday, July 3 that former county and school employee Carlos Deangelo Bell, 30 of Waldorf—who has HIV—may have sexually assaulted multiple young children over a three-or-four year period and possibly longer, Dr. Diane Abney, chief medical officer for Charles County, says the health department will give every consideration to the victims and their parents.
“I can say that those who are identified for testing, it will be done as privately and confidentially as possible,” Abner said Thursday, July 6. “We will arrange it so they have complete privacy and we will give them as much time as they need to ask questions.”
Abney stated at the Charles County Sheriff’s Office press conference July 3 that only two victims were tested at that time and both test results came back negative for HIV. She stressed, however, that early tests which may register negative does not mean the victims are out of danger.
“They may have to be tested again in the future to make sure the virus wasn’t just in an incubation window,” Abney said.
“We will also provide counseling to the victims, to tell them, ‘it’s nothing you’ve done,’” she added. “I think after this, the entire community may need healing.”
She explained that there is a “rapid test” that can determine if the HIV is present, but that test also has an age limit and some of the victims may not benefit immediately from it.
Abney noted that the Charles County Health Department was prepared.
“We have always had the ability to do the test,” she said. “It’s always been free. We offer that service to the public. We have multiple counselors available. If we have the surge, we can see as many people as we need to. In this particular case, we are all hoping the number is going to be small.”
Abney added that as of July 6, “we do not know” if more victims have come forward.
In the fall of 2008, Bell worked as a facility attendant with the Charles County Department of Community Services also in 2015, he worked for AlphaBest, a Charles County government contractor that provided before and after school care at J.P. Ryon Elementary School and William B. Wade Elementary School. In addition, Bell volunteered as an assistant coach for the Comets track club in Waldorf in the spring of 2016, where the athletes ranged in age from 15-18 years old. Charles County Sheriff’s Office detectives have also determined Bell may have coached or assisted coaching a variety of sports throughout the region in addition to being a Charles County Public Schools employee since 2015.
As of July 3, Bell is charged with three counts of production of child pornography and two counts of second-degree assault of middle-school aged children. Charles County States Attorney Tony Covington said Monday he is certain more charges will follow.
The Charles County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone whose children may have been coached by Bell to talk with his or her children regarding this matter. If evidence of wrongdoing is suspected, they are asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI.
While the CCSO is the primary investigative agency, the FBI established this tip line to assist in the investigation and to help streamline information.
Abney asserted that the incidents are among the most “horrific” she can remember and pointed out that she “was very confident” in Charles County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kim Hill.
“”They went through all of the things they were supposed to do,” Abner said. “At the very least, they will find out if there’s anything they can do beyond what has been in place to make sure it never happens again.”
Contact Joseph Norris at firstname.lastname@example.org
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