Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Middle school teacher remains incarcerated

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

A motions hearing was held July 16 to determine if Joseph Robert Ballmann, 47, of Rockville could be released from jail before his criminal trial in October, said Seth Zucker, a spokesman for the county State’s Attorney’s Office. He said the motion was denied.

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 county grand jury on 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. The alleged victim is now 24.

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

Ballmann’s lawyer, Stephen B. Mercer, could not be reached for comment by Gazette press time.