CRIME

Lawrence Joynes charged with child abuse, sex abuse of a minor, rape

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More than a dozen girls fell victim to a veteran Montgomery County music teacher who faces charges of sexual abuse and rape, authorities say.

Joynes faces multiple counts of sexual abuse of a minor, child abuse and rape. Photo: Montgomery County Police

Montgomery County Police officials have charged Lawrence Wesley Joynes, a 54-year-old Dundalk resident, with multiple counts of sexual abuse, sexual offenses, child abuse and rape after discovering child pornography - some depicting his own students - on a home computer in February.

He was charged Aug. 8 and is being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center on child pornography charges. In total, Joynes has been charged with 14 counts of sex abuse of a minor, one count of sex offense in the third degree, child abuse and second-degree rape.

“I will say there was inappropriate touching by him,” says Cpl. Rebecca Innocente of the Montgomery County Police. “He also suggested to the kids that they make sexual gestures. Sometime he made sexual gestures himself.”

The new charges against Joynes come several months after he was originally taken into custody on child pornography charges. Joynes was arrested March 1 on one count of possessing child porn.

Police allege they found videos and images of children on his computer in February after he sent a clip to a kiddie porn producer in South Carolina.

Joynes spent the last 27 years teaching in the Montgomery County Public School system; the last decade teaching music at New Hampshire Estates Elementary School in Silver Spring.

At the time of his arrest, Montgomery County Public Schools administrators contacted the parents of students at New Hampshire Estates about the charges.

Montgomery County Public School officials released a statement saying, "as a school district, we review our policies and practices with regard to investigating and tracking any allegations of possible misconduct by one of our employees with an eye toward improving them whenever and wherever possible. Mr. Joynes is no longer employed by Montgomery County Public Schools."

Authorities say that 14 of the 15 identified victims of abuse were between kindergarten and 2nd grade when the victimization occurred. Many of the incidents happened on school property, authorities believe.

The abuse ranged from Joynes either directing or assisting victims in imitating sexual gestures and inappropriately touching him. Pornographic images and videos of his victims were also found during a search warrant executed in February both his Dundalk home and his Silver Spring classroom.

A 15th identified victim, who is now an adult, told authorities that she and Joynes had multiple sexual encounters during a three-year span in the 1990s. Those offenses led to the rape and child abuse charges.

After his arrest, New Hampshire Estates Principal Marinda Evans told parents in a recorded call that "the safety and security of (their) children is their highest priority."

Cindy Campos had Joynes as a teacher when she went to New Hampshire Estates Elementary a few years ago. Her little brother Oscar was in his music class last year. Both say he seemed nice but his appearance was a little intimidating.

“It was kind a scary with the tattoos because he had many,” Cindy Campos says. “Especially my brother was kind of scared of him because of tattoos.”

Many are wondering how many more victims there may be from Joynes 27 years teaching.

“Every mother puts into school the child and think it’s safe for them,” says Maria Campos. “but it’s not.”

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