Middle school science teacher arrested for ‘inappropriate contact’ with students -- Gazette.Net


This story was updated at 10:10 a.m. Friday, June 14, 2013.

A science teacher at A. Mario Loiederman Middle School in Silver Spring was arrested Wednesday for several sex offenses that occurred at the school, police said.

Benjamin Robert Cano, 33, of the 200 block of Night Haven Court in Edgewater was arrested and charged with three counts of sexual abuse of a minor and three counts of committing a third-degree sex offense, according to Montgomery County Police.

Cano was released Thursday after posting $50,000 bail.

Cano forwarded a request for comment to his lawyer, Thomas C. Morrow of Shaw, Morrow & Joseph, P.A. of Hunt Valley. Morrow said Cano has no comment at this time.

“I may be in position to comment after I have had an opportunity to investigate the allegations,” Morrow said in an email to The Gazette on Friday.

Police arresting documents detail this account against Cano:

One 12-year-old student told a social worker on May 20 that 10 days before, Cano placed his hand on her back as she was entering his classroom “and slowly moved it down to her buttocks.”

Investigators interviewed two other students who said that Cano touched them.

One said that Cano took her cellphone from her back pants pocket.

The student, who is 11 years old, said that his hand was positioned between the cellphone and her buttocks.

The final student, 12 years old, said that she was sitting in a hall way holding a cellphone and binder pressed against her chest.

Cano reached for the cellphone and touched her breasts with his hand,” according to the statement of charges.

When interviewed by police, Cano denied touching the first student or taking the cellphone of the second.

He told detectives that he touched the third student’s chest after she “pinned his hand against her chest with her binder,” the records show.

“Cano explained he did not remove his hand immediately because he did not want to struggle, nor did he want to ‘yank’ his hand from between the binder and the victim’s chest,” the charging document states.

The allegations against Cano were raised on the afternoon of May 16 and the teacher was placed on administrative leave May 17.

“I am deeply disturbed by these allegations and concerned for the well-being of the students involved in these cases,” Loiederman Principal Nicole Sosik wrote in a letter to parents upon Cano’s arrest Wednesday.

The principal’s letter can be found on the Loiederman website, and a letter was sent home to parents on Thursday, said Dana Tofig, spokesman for Montgomery County Public Schools.

“I know this news is extremely upsetting for our parents, our students, and our staff. Counselors will be available to speak with students who are concerned about this matter and we will continue to make them available throughout the week,” Sosik wrote.

The letter went on to note that “safety and security” of students is of the “utmost importance” to Sosik and the Loiederman staff.

Once the allegations were made, the school immediately notified the police and Child Protective Services and Cano was put on administrative leave, Tofig said. Once the school turns information over to the authorities, the investigation is in the hands of police, he said.

Staff Writer St. John Barned-Smith contributed to this report.