- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Prince George’s County school board yesterday voted unanimously to ask the Maryland State Board of Education to remove one of their members for “immorality and misconduct” in office.

Nathaniel B. Thomas, 26, is accused of bringing an 18-year-old student to a conference the board attended in San Francisco without the permission of the youth’s parents. He was charged Tuesday with a felony sex crime in connection with another case in which prosecutors say Mr. Thomas had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old student he taught at Forestville Military Academy.

The board’s decision came after an independent investigator delivered a report on his probe of Mr. Thomas’ trip to San Francisco. He has not been charged with a crime in that case.

“We found the information included in the report to be egregious, and it has moved us to take further action,” the board said in a statement released after the meeting.

The report, prepared by Timothy F. Maloney, the school board’s counsel, said that Mr. Thomas resigned mid-year from his teaching job at Forestville, a county school, after parents of two male students complained to the school about inappropriate jokes, hand gestures and remarks, according to Forestville’s principal.

The father of one student asked Mr. Thomas if he was “going after his son,” according to the report.

There is no record of the complaints in Mr. Thomas’ personnel file, and Mr. Thomas denied them, according to the report.

The report also said Mr. Thomas spent time alone at his home with the 18-year-old student and the school board’s student member, and gave them alcohol.

He played the game Truth or Dare with the students, daring them to take off their shirts or suck their toes, the report said, though they both declined to take the dares.

All three denied that any sexual contact occurred, the report said. It also said Mr. Thomas never got permission from the 18-year-old student’s parents to spend time with him, and they called 911 when they learned their son was in San Francisco with the board member.

Mr. Thomas paid for the student’s trip to San Francisco with his personal credit card and planned for the student to stay in his hotel room, which had only one bed, the report said. The student slept on the floor.

During the investigation, another student told investigators he had a sexual relationship with Mr. Thomas when he was 15. The student, now 17, said he and Mr. Thomas engaged in sex acts on multiple occasions in the board member’s home, according to a source close to the investigation.

Mr. Thomas was charged in connection with that investigation and surrendered to authorities Tuesday, four days after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

He was charged with a third-degree sex offense, a felony charge that carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and registry on the state’s sex offenders list. Maryland law prohibits persons 21 years of age and older from engaging in sex acts with persons 15 or younger.

He was released Tuesday evening on $85,000 bail, said a spokeswoman for the county detention center in Upper Marlboro.

If the state Board of Education decides to proceed with the request to remove him, it will offer Mr. Thomas a hearing within 10 days, said spokesman William Reinhard. Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, would have to approve the request.

Mr. Thomas’ attorneys said Tuesday he would not resign from the board.

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