Montgomery County police arrested a Magruder High School teacher for allegedly sexually abusing a 17-year-old female victim who was a daily student in his class.
A police statement identified the teacher as 42-year-old Peter Mason of New Market. Mason teaches special education at Magruder and has been employed by Montgomery County Public Schools since 2011. Prior to working at Magruder, Mason worked as a paraeducator at Northwest High School in Germantown from 2011 to 2015.
Detectives started investigating reports of Mason engaging in a sexual relationship with a victim on Nov. 2, after Mason confessed to a family member that he was physically involved with the victim. The family member contacted the police.
On Nov. 4, Leroy Evans, the principal at Magruder, confirmed that police were investigating the teacher. Evans said in the email that the teacher was placed on administrative leave because of “allegations of inappropriate conduct.”
According to court documents, on the last day of school for the 2018-2019 school year, the victim gave Mason her Snapchat username. Over the course of the summer, Mason communicated with the student via Snapchat, Facetime and phone calls.
On Sept. 3—the start of a new school year—Mason told the student over Snapchat that he was interested in her and he arranged to meet her in a park near Magruder, according to charging documents. When they met at the park, Mason went into the woods with the victim, kissed her and performed sexual acts on the victim. According to charging documents, Mason met the victim in the woods at least four Fridays and continued performing sexual acts on the victim.
According to court records, sometime before Oct. 14, Mason had intercourse with the victim in his Magruder classroom, with the door closed. The victim had arrived early to school before other staff members and students were in the halls.
Mason was arrested Wednesday on a Montgomery County arrest warrant. Charging documents say Mason has been charged with one count of sexual intercourse with a minor—which is a felony with a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison—and four counts of a fourth-degree sex offense by a person in an authority position. He’s currently being held without bail.
Detectives from MCPD’s Special Victims Investigations Division (SVID) are urging parents of students who have had any contact with Mason over the years to talk to their children about the interactions. People who believe their child may have been victimized by Mason should contact SVID at 240-773-5400.
Magruder Principal Emails Families About Teacher Facing Charges for Sexually Abusing Student
Magruder Principal Leroy Evans emailed the school community Wednesday evening confirming that Mason was arrested and is facing charges for sexually abusing a minor.
“These charges are deeply concerning and unacceptable and represent a serious breach of trust, responsibility, integrity and the law,” Evans said.
In the email, Evans thanks MCPS teachers for reporting the allegations once they became aware of them. Evans said that starting Thursday, psychologists and counselors will be available for students who need support.
Mason is currently on unpaid leave, Gboyinde Onijala, a spokesperson for Montgomery County Public Schools, told MyMCMedia on Thursday.
Here’s the full email:
Dear Magruder Staff and Families,
I am writing to inform you about the arrest of Mr. Peter Mason, a special education teacher at Magruder High School, on charges sex abuse of a minor and fourth-degree sex offense by a person in a position of authority. The charges stem from an alleged inappropriate contact between Mr. Mason and a Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) student.
MCPS is fully cooperating with law enforcement on this matter. Mr. Mason was immediately placed on administrative leave after the allegations of his actions were made to the school.
Mr. Mason has been employed with MCPS since 2011. He worked as a paraeducator at Northwest High School from 2011 to 2015 and has worked as a special education teacher at Magruder High School since 2015.
These charges are deeply concerning and unacceptable and represent a serious breach of trust, responsibility, integrity and the law. We hold our employees to a high standard of character and these allegations violate that. Please know that the safety of our students is our top priority and we work every day to ensure that we maintain a safe learning environment for all.
We are committed to the well-being of all of our students. A support team of school psychologists and counselors from MCPS will join with our staff beginning tomorrow, and will be available as needed to provide counseling and support to students.
I want to thank the MCPS employees who quickly reported these allegations when they were brought to their attention.
If you have any additional questions, please contact me at 240-740-5550. Also, if you or your child has any information that may be helpful to the investigation, I ask that you call the Special Victims Investigations Division of the Montgomery County Police Department at 240-773-5400.
Dr. Leroy Evans
Editor’s Note: This story was updated on Nov. 21 at 2:25 p.m. to add that Peter Mason has been placed on unpaid leave by Montgomery County Public Schools.