By Nelson Hernandez
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 18, 2007
The Maryland State Board of Education has begun proceedings to remove a Prince George's County school board member, after reviewing an investigative report accusing him of carrying on an inappropriate relationship with an 18-year-old student and a 17-year-old who serves as the school board's student member.
The decision, made in a closed meeting, followed the recommendation of the Prince George's school board, which asked the state board to expel Nathaniel B. Thomas last week. The board has accused Thomas of "immorality and misconduct in office."
Thomas, 26, has 10 days to request a hearing before the state board votes on what to do with the case. The board's decision must be approved by Gov. Martin O'Malley, and Thomas may appeal any decision made.
Thomas is also facing a third-degree sex offense charge for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old boy he once taught. The charge is a felony that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
A letter sent to Thomas yesterday from the state board lists 35 "facts" of the case, all deriving from an independent investigation ordered by the county school board to examine whether Thomas had taken an 18-year-old student to a conference in San Francisco without the student's parents' permission.
Citing the report and what the students told investigators, the state board noted that Thomas is accused of inviting the 18-year-old and the student board member to his house several times, serving them alcohol, and playing sexually suggestive games of "Truth or Dare" with them.
A lawyer for Thomas, Stephen Williams, said last week that Thomas had not decided whether to fight the attempt to remove him, given the more serious criminal case.