In their court testimony Monday, two male students said that they were uncomfortable with how a Germantown English teacher touched them when they were students at Neelsville Middle School.
A third teen claimed he received back and shoulder rubs from the teacher but said he didn’t think anything was wrong with it at the time.
“I don’t know,” the teen said. “I didn’t really notice it.”
The three were brought to Montgomery County Circuit Court on Friday to testify against Cuyler Jay Cornell, 51, of Germantown. The seventh-grade teacher has been indicted on charges of sexual abuse of a minor and sex offense stemming from a former student’s claim that Cornell touched his buttocks and genitals when he was in seventh and eighth grades.
On Monday, one of the teens said Cornell pinched him on his arm, back and neck, in addition to rubbing his shoulders and back—actions the teen said he didn’t want or like. The student also alleged that Cornell jokingly asked him to sit on his lap, an offer he declined.
“I didn’t really take that seriously,” the teen testified.
A second boy claimed that while he was a seventh grader at Neelsville, Cornell placed his hand inside the neck of his T-shirt and rubbed his shoulders and upper back. He said he didn’t tell Cornell that that the actions made him uncomfortable, but mentioned the incident to police investigators and in a statement he gave to school administrators, after Cornell was placed on administrative leave.
“I trusted him,” said the teen. “I didn’t want to be mean, but something felt like I really needed to tell him [Cornell]."
The defense rested its case Monday, but before doing so, Cornell’s attorney Reginald W. Bours III, recalled Cornell’s teen accuser to the stand to address questions about the accuser's prior drug use. The teen told jurors he frequently smoked marijuana when he was in middle school, a habit he picked up when he was 12. He said he started drinking when he was 8.
The alleged victim, who is now 15, was also asked why he didn’t tell doctors about the alleged sexual abuse when he was admitted to the hospital for psychological issues at the start of his eighth grade year.
“Because I had shame,” the alleged victim said. “I was embarrassed to tell people about that.”
The attorneys are expected to deliver their closing arguments on Tuesday.