Former Montgomery music teacher who is accused of sex abuse held without bail -- Gazette.Net


A former Montgomery County music teacher who prosecutors said faked his own death to keep a sex-abuse victim from confronting him was held without bail Friday.

The case against Lawrence W. Joynes, 55, is complicated and broad. He is charged with abusing 14 elementary school students during about 10 years teaching at New Hampshire Estates Elementary School in Silver Spring.

Joynes taught for the county for 27 years, according to school officials.

Prosecutors also said that Joynes engaged in an inappropriate and abusive relationship with a 15th victim — now an adult — when she was a student at Eastern Middle School in Silver Spring in the 1990’s. According to his charging documents, Joynes molested her and had sex with her over the course of three years.

All told, he faces 15 counts of sex abuse, four counts of committing a sex offense, and one count of second-degree rape.

Montgomery County District Judge Eugene Wolfe cited the nature of the charges against Joynes, formerly of Dundalk, as a reason not to set a bail amount and keep him incarcerated.

Wolfe’s ruling came after Joynes pleaded guilty in Baltimore County Circuit Court to one count of possessing child pornography.

On Thursday, a judge there sentenced him to time served — about a year — and ordered him to register as a sex offender, according to online court records.

The plea and sentencing in Baltimore allow prosecutors to pursue the charges against Joynes in Montgomery County.

Montgomery law enforcement officials first learned about Joynes after he was snared in a child porn investigation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Baltimore County police.

Some of the images were of victims who appeared to be Montgomery County students, according to charging documents.

Federal and Baltimore County authorities contacted Montgomery County police, which got involved in the investigation. That led to new charges in two separate Montgomery County cases — one involving New Hampshire Estates Elementary School, the other involving Eastern Middle School.

Montgomery County police said in his charging documents they found thousands of images of child pornography on one of his computers and on other digital devices he owned.

According to the charging documents in the first Montgomery case against Joynes — which pertains to his time teaching at New Hampshire Estates Elementary School — prosecutors say Joynes abused 14 young girls. The school serves students in preschool through second grade, according to the school’s website.

According to charging documents, Joynes trained a group of his favorite students, his “lunch bunch,” to engage in sexually suggestive behavior — like sucking on his fingers or on candy — while he photographed and videotaped them.

In Montgomery County District Court in Rockville, Assistant State’s Attorney Timothy Hagan argued that Joynes should be held without bail until his trial.

“The risk of flight is high here,” Hagan told Wolfe.

Hagan said that when the woman who had attended Eastern Middle School tried to contact Joynes and confront him about the abuse, Joynes malingered to avoid being found.

“The defendant not only falsified a death certificate to fake his own death, but also at different times, impersonated different individuals in order to avoid prosecution and discovery,” Hagan said.

Alan C. Drew, Joynes’ public defender, said Joynes deserved a reasonable bail.

“Regardless of the nature of the allegations, they are just allegations,” Drew said.