Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Middle school teacher remains in jail

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A Rockville middle school teacher indicted earlier this month on charges that he abused two students will remain in jail following a hearing in Montgomery County Circuit Court last week.

A hearing was held July 16 to determine if Joseph Robert Ballmann, 47, of Rockville could be released from jail before facing trial Oct. 16, said Seth Zucker, a spokesman for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office. The motion was denied.

As a result, Zucker said, Ballmann will remain in custody at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Clarksburg.

Ballmann, a teacher at Robert Frost Middle School, was indicted by a Montgomery County grand jury July 5. He is charged with two counts of sexual abuse of a minor, three counts of sexual abuse in the third-degree, one count of sexual solicitation of a minor, one count of exhibition of pornography to a minor and two counts of manufacture or possession of a destructive device.

Ballmann was arrested May 2 at his home in the 11100 block of Cedarwood Drive and charged in connection with the alleged sexual abuse of a former Frost student. Police say that Ballmann abused the student on numerous occasions from spring 2004 to May 2005 at Ballmann’s residence. The student is now 15.

Ballmann was arrested again on June 7 in the 81900 block of Falling Star Road in Germantown in connection with an alleged incident involving another student. Police say that Ballmann engaged in inappropriate sexual contact between 1995 and 1997 with a boy who was in the seventh and eighth grades at Westland Middle School in Bethesda at the time. The alleged victim is now 24 years old.

Ballmann has been a bus driver for the Montgomery County school system, served as a substitute teacher, taught English and social studies at Westland, and taught English at Robert Frost until his arrest, school system officials confirmed.

He remains on administrative leave from the school system, Montgomery County Public Schools spokesman Brian Edwards said Monday afternoon.