Ex-Thomas Johnson principal receives probation

May 09, 2001

Ex-Thomas Johnson principal receives probation


The former principal of Thomas Johnson High School in Frederick, Md., was granted probation before judgment Tuesday on a charge of soliciting prostitution.

William Louis Van Hall, 45, of 2820 Grandview Drive in Middletown, Md., was charged with one count of solicitation for prostitution, according to Hagerstown City Police. He was accused of agreeing to pay an undercover policewoman $30 for sex at about 8:50 p.m. on Feb. 28 in downtown Hagerstown.

Released on personal recognizance after his arrest, Van Hall was placed on paid administrative leave from the $82,000-a-year principal's job on March 1. He was removed from the job on March 9.


"I would like to apologize to the people of Washington and Frederick counties and thank the communities for their support," Van Hall said during Tuesday's proceedings in Washington County District Court.

He also thanked his wife and son for their support.

"I am truly sorry," Van Hall said.

District Judge Ralph France agreed to probation before judgment because of Van Hall's clear record. He placed Van Hall on probation for one year and fined him $300.

Under probation before judgement, a defendant's record remains clear provided no further charges are lodged during the probation period.

The maximum penalty could have been one year in jail and/or a $500 fine for a guilty verdict.

Defense attorney Lawrence A. Dorsey Jr. told France that Van Hall wrote a letter to each member of the Frederick County School Board following the incident.

"He regrets the act very much and what this has done to his family," Dorsey said, noting that Van Hall is in counseling with his pastor and with a professional counselor.

Van Hall was charged during a reverse prostitution sting in the first block of Jonathan Street, Hagerstown City Police said. In a reverse sting, policewomen pose as prostitutes.

According to court records, Van Hall was driving in the 100 block of Wareham Place off Jonathan Street when he encountered an undercover officer posing as a prostitute. He engaged her in a discussion that led to him offering her money for sex, court records allege.

Van Hall's arrest came less than an hour after the Thomas Johnson Patriots defeated the North Hagerstown Hubs, 66-61, in a playoff basketball game.

Van Hall was serving his first year as principal of Thomas Johnson, one of Frederick County's largest schools. It has about 1,600 students.

Van Hall had no comment following the hearing.

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