Grand Jury Indicts School Official in Teen Sex Case

By Nelson Hernandez
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A Prince George's County grand jury indicted school board member Nathaniel B. Thomas yesterday, alleging he had a sexual relationship with a teenager he once taught.

Thomas, 26, faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of third-degree sex offense.

According to the indictment and charging documents, Thomas had sex with the former student at least three times from August 2004 to October 2005, when the boy was 14 and 15 years old, and allowed him to watch pornographic videos.

An investigative report ordered by the Board of Education said Thomas met the former student while he was a freshman at Forestville Military Academy. The student, now 17, graduated from Forestville last week.

State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey (D) called the allegations "shocking" and said Thomas "used his authority" to establish the relationship. "We'll move very aggressively in this case," Ivey said at a news conference.

Thomas's lawyer, Bruce L. Marcus, said he had not had a chance to review the indictment.

A graduate of Suitland High School, Thomas taught at Forestville from 2003 to December 2004. According to the school board's investigative report, he resigned soon after the parents of two other students said he made inappropriate remarks and references to homosexuality in the classroom.

Thomas was elected to an at-large school board seat in November. The board's report said he continued to have a relationship with the student, who volunteered in his election campaign and kept in phone contact with Thomas from January to April.

Thomas has also been under investigation over relationships he had with an 18-year-old senior at Forestville and the board's student member. The report said Thomas played "truth or dare" with the students and served them alcohol. The report said he took the 18-year-old to a conference in San Francisco in April without his parents' permission.

The two students and Thomas have said no sexual contact occurred, and the case is not being treated as a criminal matter. Both students graduated from Forestville last week.

The board unanimously recommended last month that the Maryland State Board of Education expel Thomas from office on the grounds of "immorality and misconduct." Any decision to remove Thomas from office must be approved by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D).

© 2007 The Washington Post Company