A Hine Junior High School English teacher was convicted yesterday by a D.C. Superior judge of comitting sodomy on five teen-age male students or former students in a school classroom and at other locations during a seven-month period in 1979.
Coleman Allen, 30, was found guilty of 10 counts of performing illegal sex acts involving persons aged 14 to 17. Prosecutors asserted that the youths said the acts were performed with their consent, and that force was not involved.
Allen, of 5020 12th St. NE, denied the charges. He contended during his trial that the students of the school at Seventh and C streets SE accused him of performing the acts as part of a conspiracy because of his homosexuality. He asserted that the complainants also had tried to extort money from him in return for not reporting the incidents to school authorities. m
"Gay people are very vulnerable in this society," Allen testified. "Anything anybody says against you is believed because of their biases . . . I do not fit the mold of their concept of manhood . . . of what a man is."
District school officials said the question of disciplinary action against Allen would be studied, but his attorney said the teacher might resign. Officials had transferred Allen to an administrative position that kept him from contact with students after the charges were brought against him.
Judge Truman A. Morrison, who presided over the four-day trial, said he was "mindful of the difficulty of a case of this type that did not involve physical force and . . . involved witnesses who were not without their own character impediments."
The youths who testified against him were discipline problems at school, Allen contended. However, Morrison noted that the youths were not too "young or immature," and that much of their testimony was corroborated. n
Over the objection of Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Brooks Harrington, Morrison released Allen on bond pending sentencing. But he imposed the condition that Allen, an eight-year veteran of the school system, not come in contact with any students.
According to evidence introduced by the government, Allen committed the acts from the spring of 1979 through December of that year.
In one incident in October, Harrington asserted, Allen performed oral sodomy on two students -- one an eighth grader and the second a 10th grader -- in a school classroom after regular school hours.
On another occasion, the court was told, Allen performed an illegal act on a 10th grader in the apartment of another District teacher, who was not charged. In his blanket denial of the charges, Allen contended that on some occasions, he had invited students to his home for "tutoring" in English. On another occasion, he recalled, he merely had given a student a ride in his car. a
Allen also told the court that he "cared about every student I've taught." And his attorney, Darrel S. Parker, characterized the testimony of the youths as "incredible and inconsistent."
Florence Pendleton, principal of Hine, said that she was "very sorry to hear [about Allen's conviction]; that's very distressing."