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MCPS: Teacher Placed On Leave Prior to Sex Offense Arrest

Neelsville Middle School teacher was placed on administrative leave when police and school officials were notified in February of alleged ‘inappropriate contact’ with a student, an MCPS spokesman said.

(Updated 1:00 p.m.) A seventh grade English teacher charged with inappropriately touching one of his students had been placed on administrative leave months prior to the arrest, school officials said.

Cuyler Jay Cornell, a teacher at Neelsville Middle School,  on sex offense charges involving a 14-year-old student. Montgomery County Police spokesman Capt. Paul Starks said the student was male.

In February, police and school administrators were notified of “inappropriate contact” between Cornell and the student. Dana Tofig, MCPS spokesman, said Cornell was placed on leave as soon as the concerns were raised.

Cornell has worked for MCPS since 1985 and has been at Neelsville since 2010, Tofig said.

According to MCPS policy, employees who face such charges are placed on leave while police conduct their investigation, after which time MCPS would conduct its own investigation regarding employment, Tofig said.

The alleged victim was a student in Cornell’s classroom during the 2010-11 school year. Police said they spent time together outside the classroom, even during the current school year.

Police believe the incidents occurred on two occasions during the summer of 2011. A police spokeswoman reportedly told The Washington Examiner that Cornell allegedly put his hands down the student’s pants. Montgomery County Police Officer Janelle Smith told Patch that in other incident, Cornell allegedly touched the student inappropriately over his pants.

The Gazette reported that one of the incidents occurred inside the school. Smith later told Patch that the other incident occurred in Cornell's vehicle, outside the school.

Cornell, 50, of the unit block of Stonebridge Court in Germantown, was charged with two counts of committing a third-degree sex offense and one count of sexual abuse of a minor, according to court records accessed online.

An attorney was not listed for Cornell in the online court records.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled for June 1 in Montgomery County District Court.

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