The Washington Post

Former Montgomery social studies teacher pleads guilty in sex-abuse case

A former Montgomery County social studies teacher pleaded guilty Thursday to sex abuse in a case centered on sexually charged e-mails and conversations he had with a 16-year-old student.

Richard Shemer, 50, who taught at Albert Einstein High School and coached baseball, faces up to five years in prison at his sentencing hearing, which is scheduled for June. His attorney is expected to argue for no jail time in part, he said, because Shemer never touched the student.

“To most people, he was a respected teacher and coach,” said Barry Helfand, the lawyer.

Shemer was placed on leave last year. He has not been employed with the school system since February, according to school officials.

In an plea agreement filed in the case, prosecutors agreed to seek no more than five years of incarceration. Shemer’s name is expected to be placed on a public sex-offender registry, according to court records.

The investigation of him began on Sept. 28, 2013, when the victim’s mother called police to report that she had discovered inappropriate e-mails from Shemer to her daughter. The e-mails had come from Shemer’s county school e-mail account.

Detectives spoke with the student, who confirmed that the e-mails had come from Shemer. She also said that she visited his classroom during her lunch hour and after school. The two spoke specifically about sex — and Shemer asked her if she would perform specific sexual acts, according to police.

“The defendant did ask her if she would dominate him,” prosecutor Tim Hagan said in court Thursday.

The conversations between Shemer and the student continued via e-mail. At one point, Hagan said, Shemer asked the student to use a different e-mail address to reach him. Shemer also asked her to provide him with a picture of a private part of her body, according to police.

Helfand spoke briefly in court Thursday. He conceded that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict his client of sex abuse, but he said that in such cases in Maryland, prosecutors don’t have to establish that there was any physical contact.

Helfand said that Shemer never set up a specific plan or date to engage in sexual activity with the student. Helfand said he expects that adults and former baseball players will speak on his client’s behalf at the sentencing hearing.

Ramon Korionoff, spokesman for the Montgomery County state’s attorney’s office, said that the plea holds Shemer accountable. “Use of the school system’s computers to send lurid requests of a teenage girl is inappropriate, and today’s agreement reflects that,” he said.

Get updates on your area delivered via e-mail

Dan Morse covers courts and crime in Montgomery County. He arrived at the paper in 2005, after reporting stops at the Wall Street Journal, Baltimore Sun and Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He is the author of The Yoga Store Murder.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
From clubfoot to climbing: Double amputee lives life of adventure
Learn to make traditional soup dumplings
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
Play Videos
Unconventional warfare with a side of ale
The rise and fall of baseball cards
How to keep your child safe in the water
Play Videos
'Did you fall from heaven?': D.C.'s pick-up lines
5 ways to raise girls to be leaders
How much can one woman eat?
Play Videos
How to get organized for back to school
How to buy a car via e-mail
The signature drink of New Orleans

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.