2020 | Police & Fire

UPDATED: Teacher who ran for Congress accused of sexually abusing former student

Sexual contact happened on middle school property, police say

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This story was updated at 5:21 p.m. on Aug. 26, 2020, to include attorney information for Maxwell Bero. The story and headline were updated again at 9:25 p.m. to better reflect the nature of the allegations.

Maxwell Bero, a Watkins Mill High School teacher who ran against David Trone for Congress this year, was arrested on Wednesday, accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old student in 2014 and 2015.

Between Aug. 2014 and June 2015, Bero, 30, of Clarksburg, allegedly had inappropriate contact several times with an underage student while he was a teacher at Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle School, according to a news release from police.

The sexual abuse occurred after school hours on school property, according to police.

The news release said police began investigating Bero in July when the victim, now 19, reported the allegations. Bero “engaged in inappropriate sexual contact and exchanged inappropriate sexual materials and messages with the juvenile victim/student,” police wrote.

Bero was arrested on Wednesday and charged with sexual abuse of a minor and third-degree sexual offense, according to online court records.

Rene Sandler, an attorney at Sandler Law, LLC, in Washington, D.C., wrote in an email Wednesday afternoon that she is representing Bero.

“We will release a statement at the appropriate time,” she wrote. She did not comment further.

On Wednesday afternoon, Bero could not be reached at a phone number listed for him.

MCPS has placed Bero on paid administrative leave, according to the school district.

In June, Bero lost to Trone in the primary election for the District 6 Congress seat.

In response to a Bethesda Beat questionnaire about his candidacy, Bero wrote that, during his time as a teacher, he has “seen firsthand how (students’) lives have been affected by government policy of all levels, and I know progressive policies like universal health care and improved public transportation, among others, can completely change Americans’ lives.

“As a teacher and coach, I’m used to figuring out ways to motivate and inspire others, and develop creative solutions to problems, and I’m prepared to do the same in Washington,” he wrote.

The social media accounts listed on the questionnaire, which had been active earlier this week, had been deactivated as of Wednesday afternoon.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com