A Silver Spring elementary school music teacher arrested in February for allegedly possessing child pornography has now been charged with sexually abusing 15 youths, most of whom were his students in kindergarten to second grade.
Lawrence Wesley Joynes is no longer employed at Montgomery County Public Schools, said school system spokesman Dana Tofig in a statement to The Gazette Tuesday.
Joynes, 54, of the 1900 block of Ormand Road in Dundalk, worked in Montgomery County public schools for 27 years, 10 of them at New Hampshire Estates Elementary School in Silver Spring.
Montgomery County police said during that time, he allegedly abused 14 female students who were in his music class at New Hampshire Estates Elementary School. Police allege the abuse occurred from 2005 to 2013 in his school classroom.
A 15th victim, who is now an adult, was allegedly abused by Joynes during a three-year period in the 1990s, according to police.
An attorney for Joynes could not be reached.
Tofig said in the statement that the school system will continue to assist the county police department during its investigation.
“Such conduct is very rare, but when allegations are made we take them very seriously and work closely with the police and Child Protective Services,” Tofig said.
Montgomery County charged Joynes on Aug. 8 with 14 counts of sex abuse of a minor and one count of third-degree sex offense. Police have also charged Joynes with one sex offense count, along with child abuse, and second-degree rape.
According to a police statement released Tuesday morning, during a February 2013 investigation, the Department of Homeland Security and Baltimore County Police discovered that Joynes possessed child pornography. After searching his home and classroom, Baltimore County Police and Homeland Security officers discovered videos and images of children at both places, on his computer and other digital media. Montgomery County detectives identifed 14 students who were victims of sex abuse.
The abuse included the suspect directing the victims and/or assisting the victims in imitating sexually suggestive gestures and also inappropriate touching by the suspect, Montgomery County Police Cpl. Rebecca Innocenti wrote in the release.
Police said they will not be releasing any further information about the victims in order to protect their identities and respect their privacy.
Joynes, who was arrested in late February on child pornography charges, is currently in custody in Baltimore County.