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Boonsboro school worker facing charges

May 05, 1998|By MARLO BARNHART and DAVE McMILLIONs

A 34-year-old former instructional assistant at Boonsboro High School, who police say admitted having sex with two high school boys, has been charged with three counts of contributing to the condition of a child, according to court records.

The misdemeanor charges against Brenda Sue Hargett relate to allegations that alcohol was supplied to three boys ranging in age from 16 to 17, authorities said.

"Her position is she never bought alcohol for these boys," said her attorney, Timothy Conlon.

The Associated Press quoted Conlon as saying that Hargett contends she wasn't responsible for her actions because of depression and stress.

If convicted, Hargett, of 9502 Crystal Falls Drive, could face up to three years in prison and/or $2,500 fines on each of the misdemeanor charges, according to records at Washington County District Court.

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She also has been served with six criminal citations charging her with furnishing alcohol to minors, also a misdemeanor.

The charges were filed in the form of a criminal summons, which was served on Hargett Monday morning.

Hargett, who is married but does not have children, wasn't taken into custody.

Washington County Board of Education Spokeswoman Donna Messina said Hargett, who had worked for the school system for about two years, was dismissed from her job on March 31.

That termination came less than 24 hours after allegations of inappropriate behavior were brought to the attention of school officials, Messina said.

The alleged incidents occurred on Feb. 6 and between March 22-28, according to Deputy Pete Lazich of the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

On March 31, Phillip Ray, school board director of human resources, asked the sheriff's department to investigate allegations that Hargett was having sexual intercourse with two students and furnished alcohol to at least one student, according to charging documents.

Hargett began telling a co-worker in January of her interest in a 10th-grade student and told her friend she felt ''obligated'' to have sex with the boy, who was then 15, according to charging documents.

The boy told police he had fondled Hargett during private tutoring sessions in the school cafeteria. Hargett told her friend she kissed the boy on March 19, the day after his 16th birthday, the documents allege.

Three days later, she had sex with him and a 17-year-old in the older boy's car, and again had sex with the older boy four days later, the documents allege.

Hargett told a Washington County sheriff's deputy both boys drank beer in the car but she didn't have any. She also admitted she let another 17-year-old sip from a cup of orange juice and champagne in her car after a basketball game, according to the charging documents.

She admitted to Lazich that she told her co-worker she'd had sex with the two boys but said she was only joking, charging documents said.

As the interview continued, she admitted she'd had sexual intercourse with the two boys, saying they talked her into it, Lazich alleged in an application for statement of charges.

"They said they'd get mad at me if I didn't have sex with them," Lazich alleged she told him.

Hargett's attorney, Conlon, said the descriptions of Hargett's alleged sex with students "makes good Jerry Springer material," but emphasized that no sex-related charges had been filed against her.

Sheriff Charles F. Mades agreed no sex-related charges had been lodged against Hargett.

Instructional assistants assist classroom teachers and do not have their own classes, said Ray. They must at least have a high school diploma, Ray said.

Superintendent of Schools Herman G. Bartlett Jr. said background checks are completed on teacher candidates before they are hired.

A trial date of July 8 has been scheduled in Washington County District Court.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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