Police in Montgomery County, MD arrested and charged 54-year-old elementary school music teacher Lawrence Wesley Joynes last week with multiple counts of sexual abuse, child abuse, rape and molestation after finding child pornography on the teacher's computer. According to ABC Channel 7, some of the pornographic materials featured Joynes' students and appeared to have been produced on school grounds.
Joynes has been teaching in the Montgomery County School System for 27 years. For the last 10, he has been at New Hampshire Estates Elementary School in Silver Spring, MD.
He was arrested Aug. 8 and is currently being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center on 14 counts of sex abuse of a minor, one count of sex offense in the third degree and one count of second-degree rape. According to police, 14 of the 15 victims were between kindergarten and second grade in age at the time that the abuses occurred.
Joynes was initially arrested in March. Police found child pornography on his computer then and an email containing a video that Joynes sent to a producer of child porn in South Carolina. In it, a girl was shown among music instruments in what looks like a classroom.
Other teachers alerted authorities that they found Joynes' behavior suspicious, particularly his habit of locking the classroom door behind him when working with students. One teacher told the Washington Post that she reported Joynes when a first grader told her that the music teacher had tickled her. Another teacher said that she had seen Joynes holding a young girl between his legs as he sat on a stool and that he had three students in his classroom with the door locked for what he called a "lunch bunch."
One victim, now an adult, told police that she had a sexual relationship with Joynes for three years when she was a child in the 1990s. Those offenses were what led to the charges of rape and child abuse.
New Hampshire Estates Elementary School principal Marinda Evans told parents of students on a conference call Monday that "the safety and security of your children is our highest priority."
[image of little girl in passenger seat via Shutterstock.com]