Former Maryland teacher accused of sexually assaulting student in the 1970s

A former elementary school teacher has been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting children more than four decades ago. St. Mary's County sheriff's deputies have charged 73-year-old Theodore Bell for crimes they believe he committed while he was a teacher at White Marsh Elementary School in the 1970s.

Investigators say because the case is old it's been harder to track down former students and staff of the elementary school who were there during the short time Bell was a teacher. He also taught for several more years in nearby Anne Arundel County.

"It's important that no matter how long it has been since something has transpired it is still equally important for that victim to report that crime," said Cpl. Julie Yingling with the St. Mary's County Sheriff's Department.

On Tuesday, the sheriff's department released a1972 photo of Bell in hopes it could jog someone's memory.

Deputies say back in September 2018, an adult contacted the St. Mary's County school district to report they were inappropriately touched by Bell at a home off Lawrence Avenue in Leonardtown while he was a child and student at White Marsh Elementary. Bell was a teacher at the school from 1972 to 1975.

The case was turned over to the sheriff's office who have charged Bell with second-degree assault and sex offenses more than four decades after the alleged crime.

Deputies don't believe the incident took place on school grounds but they are concerned there could be more victims as they say Bell worked as a teacher in other nearby Anne Arundel County for several years.

"[We'd] like to encourage anyone who did attend White Marsh Elementary school, even if they are not a victim of Mr. Bell's… I would encourage them, if they know of something or have information of other potential victims to please come forth and give us that information," said Yingling.

FOX 5 reached out to Bell's lawyer Tuesday but he had no comment.

Bell currently lives in Glen Burnie. He was arrested on a summons and released on his own recognizance.