Former Manassas teacher’s aide charged with sexually abusing boy in the 1990s

A man who was a former kindergarten aide, library secretary and coach at a Manassas elementary school was arrested late Tuesday and charged with four counts of sexually abusing a young male student there in the mid-1990s, law enforcement officials said.

Steffon Rodney Christian, 48, is suspected of performing sexual acts on a boy beginning in 1993 when the boy was in the fourth grade, and Manassas City police said the abuse lasted until 1997. Sources close to the case said the victim reported being repeatedly abused during those years, often in the Manassas townhouse where Christian used to live.

(Courtesy of Manassas City Police) - Steffon R. Christian

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Christian, who has been out of the school system since 1999, lives at 10210 Oxfordshire Dr., and Manassas police were asking people who have any information about possible abuse there to contact them.

The victim who came forward, who is 29 and living out of state, told police he thinks there are other victims. Officers said they are at the beginning of the investigation since the victim came forward last week.

Christian’s “whole history is under investigation,” said Prince William Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul B. Ebert (D). “Pedophiles generally go to the place where they can find victims to their liking and people they can groom and be able to develop a relationship with.”

Ebert said the victim called police after seeing news reports about the Penn State University abuse case and wanted to do his best to make sure no other boys are harmed. Law enforcement officials said the victim has suffered for years.

Christian is being held at the Prince William jail, without bond, and officials said he had not obtained a lawyer as of Wednesday night. The first hearing in the case is scheduled for Jan. 27 in Prince William County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

Almeta Radford, a spokeswoman for Manassas City schools, said Christian worked at Baldwin from August 1981 through September 1999. He spent six years as a kindergarten instructional assistant and the next 12 years as the library secretary.

Radford said the schools learned of Christian’s arrest Wednesday and that it was too soon to comment on the case.

Police said Christian became close with students in a variety of roles at Baldwin. He would take students — especially those experiencing family trouble — on golf outings, host them at his home, and give them gifts, law enforcement officials said.

Christian’s case comes on the heels of another abuse scandal in Manassas schools. Kevin Ricks, a former English teacher, was convicted of abusing boys he met as a camp counselor, teacher and foreign exchange host.

Manassas City police detectives, working with the FBI, unraveled Ricks’s more than three decades of abuse spanning the globe after discovering inappropriate Facebook messages between Ricks and a former Osbourn High School student whom he molested.

Police ask that anyone with information about Christian call the Investigative Services Division at 703-257-8092.

Staff researcher Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.

 
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