- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 8, 2007

A Prince George’s County school board member surrendered to authorities yesterday, four days after police accused him of sexually molesting a 15-year-old male student.

Nathaniel B. Thomas, 26, is charged with a third-degree sex offense, a felony that carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

“We’re going to prosecute this case very aggressively, and we’re going to move forward quickly,” Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn F. Ivey said yesterday.

There were no allegations of physical force, Mr. Ivey said, and the third-degree charge was a result of the student’s age and his subordinate relationship to Mr. Thomas.

Mr. Thomas was expected to turn himself in Monday, but did not show up at police headquarters in Palmer Park until 3:30 p.m. yesterday. His attorney, Michael Worthy, said he had instructed Mr. Thomas to wait until he had arranged the terms of the arrest.

The student, now 17, came forward last week about purported sexual relations with Mr. Thomas after he learned that the school board member was already under investigation for an incident with another county student, said a source close to the investigation.

The school board was investigating whether Mr. Thomas brought an 18-year-old student to a conference in San Francisco without the consent of the student’s parents. No criminal charges have been filed as a result of that trip.

The student accusing Mr. Thomas said the incidents happened at Mr. Thomas’ home when he was the boy’s teacher at Forestville Military Academy, said the source.

Mr. Thomas, a Suitland High School graduate, taught social science at that school from 2003 to 2004 and at Drew Freeman Middle School from 2002 to 2003. He was elected to an at-large seat on the school board in November.

He is also the director of planning and program development at the nonprofit organization Community Teachers Institute. The center’s director, former state delegate Rushern L. Baker III, did not return a call for comment yesterday.

A statement released by Mr. Thomas’ attorneys said he would not resign his post on the school board, but would request a leave of absence.

The school board is expected to decide today whether to ask the Maryland State Board of Education to remove Mr. Thomas from his post. Gov. Martin O’Malley would have to approve the request.

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