Trial set for former Montgomery County Covenant Academy teacher charged with sex abuse -- Gazette.Net


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A former private school teacher charged with sexually abusing four boys from 1985 to 1990 will face trial in June in Montgomery County.

Nathaniel Morales, who lived in Germantown and with a family in Rockville, was charged in December 2012, with 10 sexual offenses.

Morales, a teacher at Montgomery County Covenant Academy, hosted sleepovers and Bible studies at his apartment, according to the charging documents, which related disturbing tales of victims waking up and discovering Morales abusing them.

According to charging documents, he sexually abused teenagers who attended Montgomery County Covenant Academy, where Morales was working in school’s administration at the time.

Covenant Life Church issued a statement Wednesday, that said that although Morales was a member of the church, he was not a teacher at Covenant Life School, which is associated with the church.

Police say the abuses occurred while he worked at Montgomery County Covenant Academy, a different institution.

Covenant Academy closed in 1991, said Thurlow Switzer, the founder of the school.

“Nothing came to our attention while [Morales] was working on our staff,” Switzer told The Gazette on Friday. “Hearing this now is very sad.”

A statement on the church’s website read: “Mr. Morales, though a church member at the time, was never a pastor in Covenant Life Church nor a teacher in Covenant Life School. ... Rather, Mr. Morales was a teacher employed by an independent private school in Montgomery County not affiliated with Covenant Life Church or School.”

The statement went on to say, “Covenant Life Church had no knowledge of [the] abuse until many years after the abuse when an adult who had been victimized as a child came forward.”

Morales was living in Las Vegas before his arrest, online Maryland court records show.

A Feb. 21 hearing will determine whether the cases will be heard one at a time or all at once, said Ramon Korionoff, spokesman for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office.

In 2009, a man told police that Morales abused him between 1985 and 1988, from the time the victim was 14 to 17. The victim “relied on his parents and on his church pastor to handle the matter; however no police report was ever made,” according to the charging documents used in the warrant for Morales’ arrest.

Several other men police interviewed said Morales sexually abused them when they were younger. They said the attacks occurred at his apartment and at the homes of the victims, where Morales was either staying or during sleepovers that he held, charging documents say.

The sister of one victim told her pastor of the abuse, according to Morales’ case file. When the investigating detective questioned church officials, “They acknowledged learning of the abuse, however indicated that the families, at that time, did not want to come forward. They recalled speaking with Morales who acknowledged wrong doing but with no specifics or details about the incident,” according to the charging documents.

Another hearing will be held to discuss Morales’ mental health, Korionoff said.

The trial will take place before Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Terrence McGann. Alan Drew will represent Morales, while Assistant State’s Attorney Amanda Michalski will represent the state.

sjbsmith@gazette.net