Credit: via MCPS

The sexual abuse of a student that resulted in charges against a Col. Zadok A. Magruder High School teacher included sexual encounters in a nearby park and a classroom, Montgomery County police say.

Police announced Wednesday that Peter Wright Priest Mason, 42, of New Market was charged with sexual abuse of a minor and fourth-degree sexual offense by a person in a position of authority.

Charging documents say Mason and the 17-year-old student began communicating on the mobile app Snapchat on the last day of school in the 2018-2019 school year and later started calling each other regularly.

On Sept. 3, Mason told the student he was “interested in her,” according to court documents. The two then met in a park on Friday afternoons after school, where they performed sex acts on each other, according to police.

Court documents state that Mason and the student engaged in sexual activity in the park at least four times between Sept. 3 and Oct. 14. Once during that period, the student met Mason in his classroom for sexual activity before school, when no students or employees were in the hallway.

Police began investigating the alleged sexual abuse of a minor at the school on Nov. 2 after Mason told a family member he was having a “physical relationship” with the student, court documents state.

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On Nov. 4, Montgomery County Public Schools announced that a teacher at the school was placed on administrative leave due to allegations of “inappropriate conduct” with a student. The school system said it released few details to avoid “prejudicing” the investigation.

Mason was a special education teacher at Magruder and has worked for MCPS since 2011, police said.

Mason is scheduled to appear in district court Dec. 20. His attorney, David Martella, could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday.

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Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com