GREENBELT, Md. - A former Charles County school assistant who pleaded guilty in federal court to charges of producing child pornography has been sentenced to 105 years in prison.
Carlos Bell, 30, appeared in a Greenbelt courtroom on Tuesday where he told the judge he was sorry for what he'd done before he was sentenced. Prosecutors had asked for 150 years while the defense asked for 30 years. Judge Paul Grim handed down the 105-prison sentence and said the sentence needed to protect the public.
"Carlos did, in fact, apologize to the victims' families and it was very important for him to do that and he wanted to make sure that they understood he was very sorry about what happened," Bell's defense attorney James Crawford said. "I also explained to Judge Grim that this young man (Carlos Bell) had been abused in many, many ways, including physically, psychologically and sexually since he was a young kid. It started with pornography at 7 or 8 years of age and there is no question that this was a situation where what happened to him was mirrored in many ways as what he did as an adult."
On Jan. 23, Bell pleaded guilty to 10 counts of producing child pornography involving unnamed students from Benjamin Stoddert Middle School in Charles County. According to the plea agreement, from January 2014 to December 2016, Bell used and coerced 10 minors to engage in sexually explicit acts for the purpose of producing child pornography.
It was revealed in court that Bell had also beaten the victims in a ritualistic attempt to mirror gang-style initiations.
On Jan. 5, Bell pleaded guilty in state court to 27 counts of sexual abuse of a minor along with a slew of other serious crimes after being indicted on 206 charges involving 42 juveniles. He faces 190 years in prison in connection with those counts during his sentencing on April 3.
According to police, Bell, who officials said is HIV positive, sexually assaulted the students while not wearing protection. Officials said the victims ranged in age from 11 to 17 years old and said, thankfully, none of the students had tested positive for HIV.