Reporting Christie Ileto
SILVER SPRING, Md. (WJZ) – An elementary school teacher from Dundalk is facing a number of sexual abuse charges stemming from allegations he abused young students at the school where he worked.
Christie Ileto has more on the developing story.
A quiet Dundalk street is buzzing.
“I was quite stunned. I knew his mom a little bit,” said Cheryl Kidwell, who lives across the street.
Montgomery County police say they’re charging Dundalk resident Lawrence Wesley Joynes with 14 counts of sex abuse of a minor, among other things.
“At this time, we’ve identified 15 victims of child sexual abuse. The suspect, Lawrence Joynes, was a Montgomery County public school teacher for 27 years,” said Montgomery County Police Cpl. Rebecca Innocenti.
Police say Joynes was teaching music at New Hampshire Estates Elementary in Silver Spring. Reports show over eight years, he abused 14 girls who police say were his kindergarten to second grade students inside his classroom. Police say a 15th victim, now an adult, was allegedly victimized in the 1990s.
“It is possible there are additional victims out in the community,” Innocenti said.
The August charges come months after Joynes was originally taken into custody for child porn charges. During a February search warrant, police found pornographic videos and images in both his Dundalk home and Silver Spring classroom. Police say the abuse included Joynes directing students to imitate sexual gestures.
“I could not wrap around it that he could have done this or been accused of this,” Kidwell said.
“I am surprised,” said Marie Burkhardt. “Very surprised.”
And now those who once lived close to Joynes are left making sense of the allegations while the 54-year-old sits behind bars.
Montgomery County public school officials say Joynes is no longer an employee of theirs. He is currently at the Baltimore City Detention Center.
Detectives are asking anyone who has been a victim of sex abuse by Joynes and has not reported it to police to please call 240-773-5400.