- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 6, 2006

BALTIMORE (AP) — A former Baltimore County public-school teacher who was hired even though he was under investigation for sexual child abuse of a former student had fallen through the cracks, authorities said.

Timothy N. Gounaris, 50, had been accused of wrongdoing, but he had not been charged. So, when the city ran a criminal background check on Mr. Gounaris, it came back clean.

Baltimore County police last week charged Mr. Gounaris with second-degree sex offense and perverted practice. He is accused of having sex with a 13-year-old girl in his home over two weeks in December 2005.

The Perry Hall resident has been released on $50,000 bail and placed on indefinite suspension.

Mr. Gounaris had been a teacher at Pine Grove Middle School in Baltimore County until his resignation in July. The city hired him a month later, assigning him to Chinquapin Middle School.

Unknown to the city, county police had been investigating the accusations since January, county police spokesman Cpl. Michael Hill told the Baltimore Examiner. Police said the county had reassigned Mr. Gounaris to a warehouse position.

City schools spokeswoman Vanessa Pyatt said the problems did not surface when the city did its employment check.

County officials said that could not have been.

“If a person is found to be inappropriate with a student, and we discipline him, that is documented and becomes part of their personnel file,” said Dale Rauenzahn, director of student support services for Baltimore County.

However, a teacher’s personnel file is not made public, said Charles Herndon, a county schools spokesman, and he does not think it is shared with other school systems.

Cpl. Hill said the police department does not automatically notify school systems of sexual child abuse cases. “That would be unfair until we have tried to substantiate the claims,” he said.

Mr. Gounaris had been a county school system employee since August 2001. He previously taught at Sparrows Point Middle School.

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