Friday, May 23, 2008

Bail set at $75,000 for teacher charged with sexual abuse of a minor

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The Montgomery County teacher charged this week with sexual abuse of a minor can be released from jail on a $75,000 unsecured bond, a District Court judge in Rockville ruled Friday afternoon.

A preliminary hearing in the case is set for June 20 at 10 a.m.

Lindsey H. Froehlich, 26, of the 13100 block of Shadyside Lane in Germantown, was also charged with fourth-degree sexual offense. County police say she had a relationship that led to inappropriate touching of a 16-year-old student.

Froehlich is a teacher at the Regional Institute for Children and Adolescents (RICA), located at 15000 Broschart Road in Rockville, where the teenager is a resident student, police reported.

RICA is a public special education school that serves students with emotional disabilities in a day and residential program.

Bail was originally set at $250,000. Froehlich's attorney, David A. Martella of Rockville, asked Judge Gary G. Everngam to reduce it to $50,000 unsecured.

According to police, the alleged incidents happened during school hours and on school property.

‘‘The judge honored the presumption of innocent,” Martella said after the hearing.

‘‘You always have to be careful about these kinds of allegations,” he said. ‘‘But I'm confident this will be resolved favorably.”

Froehlich's parents attended the hearing, but were unavailable for comment.

The conditions of Froehlich's release stipulate that she is to stay away from RICA and have no contact with minors other than her 3-year-old daughter. Froehlich is a single mother, Martella said.

‘‘She has no history of this kind of thing and if you talk to anyone at RICA they'll describe her as outstanding, outstanding, outstanding,” Martella said.

Police and Child Protective Services officials began investigating Froehlich after RICA officials reported abuse that allegedly occurred on Monday, county police reported.

Police said Froehlich has been a teacher with Montgomery County Public Schools since August 2005 and has been placed on administrative leave.

Montgomery County Public Schools officials did not return a call seeking comment on Friday.

Staff Writer Contessa Crisostomo contributed to this report.