Charles County high school music teacher charged with sexual abuse of minors

- A Charles County teacher is facing charges for acts of sexual abuse against students.

Ralph Marvin Van Dyke Jr., an instrumental music teacher at North Point High School in Waldorf, was removed from his position and placed on administrative duties on Nov. 15, 2017 after a female student reported he inappropriately touched her.

A grand jury indictment unsealed Wednesday revealed that a total of six current and former students have come forward in this case. The offenses allegedly took place between 2009 and 2017, according to court records.

The 59-year-old has been charged with six counts of sexual abuse of a minor, one count of second-degree assault and two counts of fourth-degree sexual offense.

North Point Principal Daniel Kaple and Charles County Public Schools Superintendent Kimberly Hill sent letters home to parents informing them of the charges against Van Dyke while sharing details about the case.

Principal Kaple in his letter to parents said:

“Dear Parents/Guardians:

“I wanted to make you aware of a Charles County Grand Jury indictment charging a Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) teacher with inappropriate behavior with students. The charges stem from reports made alleging that the teacher, Ralph Marvin Van Dyke Jr., had inappropriate contact with students.

“Mr. Van Dyke, an instrumental music teacher at North Point High School since August 2006, has been on administrative leave and assigned temporarily to the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building since Nov. 15, 2017. When the accusations were brought to our attention, we immediately reported the information to the Department of Social Services, Charles County Sheriff’s Office and school system administrators. The school system’s procedure is to immediately remove any employee accused of inappropriate behavior from the school, and to prohibit the employee from having contact with students during the investigation and adjudication of the charges.

“The indictment charges Mr. Van Dyke with six counts of sex abuse of a minor, two counts of sexual offense in the fourth degree and one count of second-degree assault. The indictment was made public today.

“Superintendent Kimberly Hill will be notifying all CCPS parents about the charges later today; however, I wanted to provide this information first to our parents and school community. If you have any additional information to share about this case, please contact the Charles County Sheriff’s Office at 301-932-2222.”

Superintendent Hill wrote:

“Dear Parents/Guardians:

“Today, the State’s Attorney for Charles County unsealed a Charles County Grand Jury indictment against one of our teachers on charges of sexual abuse of a minor, second-degree assault and sexual offense in the fourth degree. Ralph Marvin Van Dyke, Jr., an instrumental music teacher at North Point High School since August 2006, was charged in a sealed indictment made public today during a bond hearing.

“Once notified of the accusations in November 2017, Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) immediately removed Mr. Van Dyke from his teaching duties and directed that he not have any contact with students. We have cooperated fully with the Charles County Sheriff’s Office and Charles County State’s Attorney’s Office throughout the investigation.

“In court, an assistant state’s attorney referenced three documents police found in Mr. Van Dyke’s personnel file. The first document was a 2006 letter from a principal at Thomas Stone High School about a parent’s concerns regarding Mr. Van Dyke’s teaching style. It did not refer to any inappropriate physical contact with a student. A second letter, written by me in 2012 in my capacity as then-principal of North Point High School, was regarding inappropriate conduct with a student. The third document, an email written in 2013 by a teacher to a vice principal, expressed a concern that was not student related.

“Charles County Public Schools’ general practice is to immediately remove any employee accused of inappropriate behavior from having contact with students during the investigation of charges. CCPS places the employee on administrative leave or assigns them to a temporary position in the administrative offices until resolution of the charges. Resolution can take months, even more than a year, depending on how long it takes for outside agencies to investigate, file charges or adjudicate the case. Placing an employee on administrative leave or in a temporary assignment allows for a thorough and unbiased investigation.

“It is never easy to share information like this with parents; however, we are committed to keeping our community informed.”

The Board of Education also responded to the allegations against Van Dyke by saying in a statement:

"The Board of Education learned today that the state’s attorney for Charles County was unsealing an indictment against a Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) employee. Information shared in court today indicated the charges stem from allegations by six students or former students.

"The indictment charges Ralph Marvin Van Dyke Jr., an instrumental music teacher at North Point High School, with six counts of sexual abuse of a minor, one count of second-degree assault and two counts of sexual offense in the fourth degree.

"CCPS removed Mr. Van Dyke from his teaching duties Nov. 15, 2017, after a student reported he touched her inappropriately. While the Charles County Sheriff’s Office conducted its investigation, Van Dyke was assigned to the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building.

"As a Board dedicated to education, as well as the academic and emotional development of young people, and as parents ourselves, we are shocked and saddened by these allegations and will continue to work with the Sheriff’s Office and the State’s Attorney’s Office. We strive to make CCPS a place where people know their voices will be heard and their concerns investigated."

Van Dyke has been a teacher at North Point since Aug. 2006, but will remain on administrative duties as the investigation continues. 

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