State Rests Case in Teacher's Sex Abuse Trial
Defense expected to start calling witnesses Thursday in the case of Cuyler Jay Cornell, a seventh grade English teacher accused of inappropriately touching one of his students.
A Germantown teenager told a circuit courtroom in Rockville that he didn’t tell authorities about alleged sexual conduct involving an English teacher at Neelsville Middle School because he was afraid of what his parents would say.
“I thought my mom would judge me because she didn't want no gay children (sic),” the teen told jurors on Wednesday.
The testimony opened the second day of trial for Cuyler Jay Cornell, 51, of Germantown, who was indicted on charges of sexual abuse of a minor and sex offense stemming from alleged incidents prosecutors claimed occurred during the 2010-11 school year, the summer of 2011 and during the teen's eighth-grade year in 2012.
The teen, now 15, alleged Cornell touched his buttocks and genitals on more than one occasion. The teen told the court that he initially told school adminstrators that Cornell had only rubbed his shoulders and that he had sat on his teacher's lap.
"I was afraid to speak up about it," the teen said.
The police investigation, according to court testimony, was sparked in February 2012 after a former sixth-grade science teacher claimed she walked in on Cornell and the teen, whom she said was “sitting on his (Cornell's) lap.”
“Like a kid would sit on Santa’s lap,” the teacher told jurors Wednesday.
A school janitor also testified that he had walked in on Cornell and a student in a storage room with the lights out, but he said he couldn’t remember when the alleged incident occurred and reportedly told administrators that he was unable to identify the student from yearbook photos.
On Wednesday, Cornell’s attorney, Reginald W. Bours III, claimed the teen accuser had changed his story throughout the duration of the trial, calling into question if and when the alleged conduct began.
The teen referred to the incident with the janitor in his testimony Tuesday and Wednesday but appeared to offer conflicting dates on when it occurred.
Bours also asked the teen why he had reportedly shouted at school, "Free Cornell," when he found out that Cornell had been arrested.
On redirect, prosecutors asked the teen why he shouted these words.
“I was trying to blend in with the students,” the teen testified. “I didn’t want to look like I was the one who was being violated.”
The defense is expected to start calling witnesses Thursday.