- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 29, 2004

TOWSON, Md. (AP) — Baltimore County prosecutors have dropped charges against a principal accused of molesting two girls at their elementary school in the late 1970s.

The two students are sisters, now in their 30s, and told police they recently had recovered memories of the abuse.

Kevin Lindsey was arrested three weeks ago based on those charges, and county school officials placed him on paid administrative leave as principal at McCormick Elementary School.

Parents received a letter from the system explaining what had happened, and counselors were sent to McCormick to deal with any concerns of the children.

Mr. Lindsey denied the charges.

Baltimore State’s Attorney Sandra O’Connor yesterday dropped all charges against Mr. Lindsey, saying there was insufficient evidence to proceed.

Describing the women as “sincere, articulate and well-educated,” prosecutors said the decision to dismiss the charges was based on a review of the police investigation and on “interviews and consultation with experts in the field of psychiatry on the topic of recovered memory.”

“Despite the sincerity of the women making the claims, the accusations are made under such circumstances that neither the scientific nor legal communities can vouch for the accuracy of the memories upon which the claims are based,” said Jason League, chief of the child abuse and sex-offense division in the prosecutor’s office.

The two sisters reported to police in late August and early September that they were assaulted at Pine Grove Elementary, according to charging documents filed in District Court in Towson.

Mr. Lindsey, 50, was charged with two counts of child abuse, two counts of second-degree sex offense and one count of third-degree sex offense, the records show.

Mr. Lindsey, who told police he taught at Pine Grove from 1976 until 1980 and has been employed by the county school system for 29 years, denied the charges, the charging documents state.

His attorney, Gerald C. Ruter, said Mr. Lindsey has been “falsely accused” and that he was confident Mr. Lindsey would be exonerated.

Mr. Lindsey was placed on paid administrative leave from his position — a routine procedure when teachers or administrators are accused of such crimes, said Charles A. Herndon, a spokesman for the county’s public school system.

Mr. Herndon would not comment specifically on the dropped charges, saying personnel matters are confidential.

However, he said employees in such circumstances typically are placed on administrative leave pending adjudication, and a prosecutor’s decision to drop charges would fall into that category.

Baltimore County schools will be closed until Monday.

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