FREDERICK- A joint investigation by the Maryland State Police and Frederick County Child Protective Services has led to the arrests of three employees at a special education day school and residential treatment center in Frederick County after they were indicted on child abuse and sexual assault charges.
The suspects are identified as Jermaine Thomas, 35, of Frederick, Md., Ariel Eppard, 27, of Hagerstown, Md., and Wesley Dean 32, of Montgomery Village, Md. A Frederick County Grand Jury indicted the three suspects late last month.
Thomas is charged with 3 counts of Sex Abuse of a Minor and 7 counts of Child Pornography/Filming a Sex Act. Eppard is charged with 2 counts of Sex Abuse of a Minor, 2 counts of 4th degree sex offense (Person in position of authority) and 2 counts of a Court-ordered Provider Engaging in Sex Act. Dean is charged with 1 count of Sex Abuse of a Minor, 1 Count of 4th Degree Sex Offense(Person in position of authority), and 2 counts of Court-ordered Provider Engaging in Sex Act.
The indictment was served on Thomas this morning at the Frederick County Courthouse by the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, after he agreed to turn himself in. Eppard was arrested by Maryland State Police at a second job location in Hagerstown shortly before noon today. Maryland State Police arrested Dean this afternoon in Montgomery County. All three have been taken to the Frederick County Adult Detention Center where they are being processed and will have an initial appearance before a court commissioner.
The suspects are charged with offenses involving a 17-year-old female and an 18-year-old female, both of whom were students at the time of the incidents at The Jefferson School, in Jefferson, Md. The Maryland State Police does not identify victims of sexual assault.
On June 5, 2019, the Maryland State Police Criminal Enforcement Division was contacted by the Frederick County Child Protective Services concerning allegations of child sexual offenses occurring at The Jefferson School. An immediate joint investigation was initiated by the State Police and Child Protective Services.
The investigation developed information and evidence that indicates Thomas and Eppard committed sexual assaults involving one victim on multiple occasions both on and off the school campus. Information indicates Dean committed sexual offenses involving both victims on the school campus. The offenses involving the three suspects are alleged to have begun in late 2018 and continued into this year. Investigators learned each suspect was a staff member at the school involved in the supervision of students in the residential area.
Investigators from the Maryland State Police and Child Protective Services presented their investigation to the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office for review. Chief Assistant State’s Attorney Tammy Leache took the evidence to the Frederick County Grand Jury who subsequently chose to indict the three defendants.
The investigation is continuing.