A Montgomery County Circuit Court judge accepted a guilty plea on Thursday from a former high school social studies teacher who admitted to talking about sexual bondage to one of his students and requesting an inappropriate photo from her.
In exchange for pleading guilty to sexually abusing a minor, Richard B. Shemer, 50, of Potomac, could receive a maximum prison sentence of five years, with five years supervised probation upon his release. Shemer also would have to register as a sex offender and would be prohibited from unsupervised contact with minors, under the terms of a signed plea bargain filed court.
His attorney Barry Helfand said he would ask that any prison time be suspended.
A charge of sexual abuse carries a maximum penalty of 25 years behind bars.
Shemer, who is free on bail, appeared before Judge David Boynton on Thursday, answering “yes” to the judge’s questions during the proceedings. Nearly a dozen people filled the courtroom in support of Shemer. They declined to comment after the proceedings.
The sex abuse charge stems from a string of incidents earlier this school year.
The teen hung out in Shemer’s classroom on lunch breaks and after school this year, even though she wasn’t his student any more, according to court documents. According to records filed in court, Shemer was the victim’s “Modern World” teacher at Einstein High School during the 2012-13 school year.
Police said they talked about bondage, domination, submission and masochism — what’s known as BDSM. The girl was 16 when the conversations occurred, according to court records.
In court Thursday, prosecutor Timothy Hagan said Shemer asked the teen if he could “dominate” her and if she would let him perform other sexual acts. In an email, Shemer asked the teen to send him a photo of her private parts, according to the charging documents.
Police got involved after the girl’s mother discovered the lewd email exchange and called Montgomery County Police on Sept. 28. He used an AOL account and his school system email account to communicate with the girl, according to arrest records.
There were no reports of physical contact between Shemer and the student.
Shemer was arrested in October and was released after posting $125,000 bail. He entered an initial plea of “not guilty” in November, court records show.
An MCPS spokesman said Shemer no longer works for the school system. Sentencing is scheduled for June 6.