LA PLATA, MD. -- A former Charles County Public Schools teacher's aide and track coach has accepted a plea deal related to hundreds of charges for sexually assaulting students and creating child pornography and faces up 190 years in prison.
Carlos Deangelo Bell, 30, entered the guilty plea Friday afternoon.
Bell, who is HIV-positive, initially faced over 200 charges related to allegations that he sexually assaulted 42 students, between 11 to 17 years old, and filming many of the encounters.
But as part of the plea deal, Bell pled guilty to only 27 charges. These included sexual abuse of a minor, attempted transmission of HIV (investigators said none of the victims have tested positive for HIV), and child pornography filming.
Bell could have been sentenced up to 294 years in prison for those charges, but prosecutors agreed to seek no more than 190 years.
Charles County State's Attorney Tony Covington said he accepted this plea deal because it achieved the two goals he had with this case. One was to insure Bell never walked the streets again.
"If he’s sentenced to the maximum sentence under this agreement, 190 years, the likelihood is that he will be in jail for the rest of his life," said Covington, who added his more important goal was to maintain the anonymity of his victims. "We have any trial, one of these youngsters is going to have to get on the stand in front of the whole world and testify. No of you would want to do it, they wouldn’t want to do it either."
Covington added this case shows how important it is for parents to talk to their kids about what to do if they find themselves in situations like Bell's victims.
"You had 42 victims. Not one of these children came forward, that we know of. Have to have open communications with your children," said Covington.
Bell still faces federal charges, but Covington said it is his understanding that Bell will plead guilty to those charges on January 23.
Bell will be sentenced for the Charles County charges on March 28.