by Geoff Fox
A Boonsboro man who taught at Hancock Middle-Senior High School has been charged by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office with engaging in a sexual relationship with a student.
According to a release on the Sheriff’s Office social media page, the initial complaint was made to the Hancock Police Department.
Police conducted a welfare check on a 17-year old female at the request of the Department of Social Services due to allegations the female engaged in a sexual relationship with her teacher.
At the conclusion of the joint investigation between the Washington County Sheriff’s Office and the Hancock Police Department, Eric James Smith, 34, of Boonsboro, was charged with one count of sex abuse of a minor and one count of sex offense fourth degree.
The Sheriff’s Office identified Smith as Washington County teacher.
An arrest warrant was issued for Smith and the State of Maryland Apprehension Team took him into custody in Howard County.
Smith is currently being held at the Howard County Department of Corrections.
According to online court records, Smith posed $50,000 unsecured personal bond and released from commitment.
Smith previously taught English at Hancock Middle-Senior High School and is currently on administrative leave, Communications Officer for Washington County Public Schools Erin Anderson said in an email.
Smith had been teaching at Hancock since 2013.
“The WCPS Human Resources Department acts quickly and follows a standard, consistent process when an employee’s conduct is questioned,” Anderson said.
In some instances, the matter must be referred to another agency for appropriate investigation and action, she added.
Staff members are mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect to Washington County Department of Social Services and the school system cooperates fully with law enforcement at the local, county, and state levels.
“We as parents, students, and staff to report any incidents of misconduct to school administrators so that appropriate, timely action can be taken,” Anderson said.