UPDATE: Security Chief Told Teen He Loved Her, Gave Her Gifts, Court Records Say
The 57-year-old security guard charged with having sex with a 17-year-old Richard Montgomery High School student bought the girl gifts and told the girl he loved her, according to charging documents in the case.
Mark Christopher Yantsos of Rockville bought the girl Ugg boots, a North Face jacket, a diamond pendant necklace for Christmas, a ring for Valentine’s Day and an iPhone 7. He also gave her cash when she asked, police said.
Yantsos was charged Thursday with sex abuse with a minor and a fourth-degree sexual offense with vaginal intercourse by a person in authority, Montgomery County Police said. Online court records show his bail was set at $75,000, and he is currently at the Montgomery County Detention Center.
Montgomery County Public Schools spokesman Derek Turner said counselors and psychologists will be at the school today. The school system’s spring break starts Friday. Turner said school officials are trying to find the best way to help kids while they’re out.
Yantsos has worked for Montgomery County Public Schools for about 10 years. At the time of his arrest, he was the security team leader at Richard Montgomery.
According to the charging documents, the victim’s mother went to school officials when she heard of the relationship Monday. Police subsequently were informed of what the mother said and questioned the girl. She told police she had known Yantsos for a couple of years, but in April 2016, they began to talk more frequently. The victim began to see Yantsos as a confidant, the charging documents said.
In October 2016, the relationship intensified and Yantsos started telling the victim that he loved her. The gifts arrived in the months that followed, the charging document said.
The charging documents say the two met up about 10 p.m. on or about Friday, March 3, and drove to a hotel in Rockville where Yantsos already had rented a room. When the two were in the room, they began kissing and had intercourse, police said.
Although they met other times afterward, there was no other sexual contact, the victim told police.
During the investigation, the charging document says police found screen shots of sexually explicit text messages between Yantsos and the victim. There were also screen shots of handwritten love letters from Yantsos and the victim, police said.
When the mother arrived at the school Monday, the charging documents say Yantsos met the victim, took the iPhone and then left without notice.
He was arrested Thursday at his home in the 600 block of Warfield Drive, police said. The arrest warrant says Yantsos could face 25 years for the charge of sexual abuse of a minor and one year and a $1,000 fine for the fourth-degree sex offense charge.
In 1994, Yantsos was a police officer in New York City arrested on a charge of menacing, according to a report from the New York Times found online. Yantsos was accused of drawing his gun on a waitress and a dancer during an early morning argument in a topless bar, where he worked as an off-duty officer, the report said.
Yantsos underwent a criminal background check when he was hired in 2007, Turner said. He didn’t know whether the New York incident would have shown up on the criminal background check system the school system used 10 years ago.
“I don’t know it would show up in 2007. It would show up now. I don’t know what the system looked like in 2007,” Turner said.
Yantsos also was a coach for the Richard Montgomery girls’ basketball team from 2012-2014. Turner said Yantsos might not have needed a new background check for the coaching position.
Shortly after the arrest was made public by police, school Superintendent Jack Smith released the following statement:
“The allegations against Mark Yantsos, the security team leader at Richard Montgomery High School, are disturbing. As Principal Monteleone stated in his letter to the community (included below), the behavior described in the charging document “represents an irreparable breach of trust, ethics and the law.” Any adult who abuses their position and takes advantage of our students has no place in our schools or community.
“Additionally, it has come to our attention that in 1994, Mr. Yantsos was accused of using his revolver to menace a female while working for the New York Police Department. We have provided this information to the police.
“The safety of our students is paramount. In 2015, the Montgomery County Board of Education updated its policy regarding child abuse and neglect. Central to the updated policy are new practices, procedures and protocols to ensure students have a safe environment in which to learn. This includes:
- updated mandatory training of all full-time employees on recognizing and reporting child abuse; and
- the development of the Employee Code of Conduct, a document that summarizes the standards of conduct that MCPS and the broader community expect employees to follow.
We remain vigilant in our efforts to ensure all of our students are in a safe environment.”
Last month, Smith was faulted for taking days to make a public statement about the March 16 rape in a Rockville High School bathroom.
Turner said the school system received feedback that the more information MCPS can share with the public, “the better off we are.”
Detectives are requesting that parents of students who attend Richard Montgomery talk to their children about their interactions with Yantsos and contact detectives at 240.773.5400 if they believe their child was victimized.
Read a message from Dr. Smith regarding the arrest of Mark Yantsos on allegations of sexual abuse of a minor: https://t.co/Ru68IVM7OF
— MCPS (@MCPS) April 6, 2017