A former teacher living in Bethesda was sentenced to five years of probation after pleading guilty to a sex offense in connection with allegations of touching and taking pictures of a teenage boy he hired to do lawn work.
Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Michael Mason sentenced Howard Earl Alpert, 73, to probation in late December, according to court records. Alpert also received a 10-year prison sentence that was suspended as part of a plea deal.
Alpert was arrested in June after police investigated an allegation that he sexually abused a minor. A 15-year-old boy told police Alpert touched him under his clothes, kissed him and took pictures of him without a shirt on.
The boy was not a student at Washington Latin Public Charter School, where Alpert taught. A spokesman for the school, which has grade 5 through 12, said Alpert resigned before his arrest. The spokesman wouldn’t give his name and declined to comment further Friday.
From 2015, when the boy was 13 years old, to May 2017, Alpert paid him $10 an hour to do lawn work at Alpert’s Adelaide Drive home about every 10 days, according to court files.
Alpert would invite the boy to his home to eat and talk, and by the third visit, in the summer of 2015, began to hug the boy goodbye, according to charging documents. Over time, the hugs “became more affectionate, prolonged and uncomfortable,” detectives wrote in the filings.
Alpert allegedly began to talk more with the boy and frequently texted him. In the spring of 2017, according to the court documents, he touched him inappropriately, once under his underwear.
Police charged Alpert with second-degree assault and third-degree sex offense, but the assault charge was dropped as part of the plea deal, in which Alpert agreed to testify to the inappropriate touching.
Alpert was ordered to have no contact with the victim or any unsupervised contact with minors younger than 16. He was ordered to undergo sex offender treatment and to register as a sex offender for 25 years.
Alpert and his attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday afternoon.