Former School Security Chief Gets 18 Months for Sex Abuse of Student
The former head of security worked at the Maryland high school since 2008 and had previously been employed as a New York City police officer.
The former head of security at a Maryland high school was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Monday for the sexual abuse of a student.
Mark Yantsos, 58, was charged with sexual abuse of a minor and fourth-degree sex offense by Montgomery County police on April 6.
Police say Yantsos sought out the female victim, a 17-year-old student at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, starting in spring 2016. He befriended the student and purchased her several gifts such as clothing, a diamond necklace and a cell phone to communicate with each other.
A few months later, the two began meeting up outside of school every few days, reports the Washington Post.
In March, Yantsos took the victim from her home to a hotel where they had sex. The teenager’s mother discovered the relationship on April 3 and went to the school to report it.
When Yantsos saw the mother arrive at the school, he retrieved from the student the cell phone he had bought her and left the property.
Yantsos was placed on administrative leave on April 4 and was later fired on June 20.
Prior to the mother’s reporting of the relationship, school officials had written up Yantsos several times for “the inappropriate close contact that he had with the victim at the school leading up to these events”, according to prosecutors.
Yantsos had worked for the school system for a decade and began leading the security team at the high school in 2008. He had previously been a New York City police officer.
The charge of fourth-degree sex offense was dropped as part of a plea agreement that would not require the victim to appear at a trial.
Prior to his sentencing, Yantsos was in custody at the Montgomery County jail after violating a court order to stay away from the victim following his arrest. Prosecutors say he saw the victim five days in a row after he was released on bond.
Yantsos’ six months in prison will count towards his 18-month sentence. His attorney, Donny Knepper, says he may be moved to a halfway house within the next three weeks.
In addition to his prison sentence, Yantsos will be added to the state sex offender registry for life and is prohibited from any future employment involving minors. He will also be placed on five years of supervised probation following his release, reports NBC Washington.
“I am troubled by your inability to have insight into the exploitative nature of this relationship,” Montgomery County Circuit Judge Michael Mason said during the sentencing. “I’m not sure how you were able to ignore she was 17 — 40 years your junior. Your position was to protect children from people like yourself. This is solely on you.”
Mason also said that the student will require years of treatment, citing findings of a mental health expert who has spoken with the victim.
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