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A jury has acquitted a former Maryland biology teacher of sexually abusing one of her students.
Meredith Susan Barry Martin, 39, was found not guilty on Thursday of five counts of having intercourse while in a position of authority, five counts of sexual offense by a person in authority, one count of unnatural or perverted practice and sex abuse of a minor, Maryland’s Capital Gazette reports.
“My job is to try and test a witness’ credibility, recollection and establish they aren’t telling the truth,” Thomas Morrow, Martin’s attorney, said in his closing statement “I was able to establish the student wasn’t telling the truth.”
It took a jury less than two hours to determine that the ex biology teacher was not guilty.
The student had claimed in 2019 that Martin had sexual intercourse with him several times in 2018 when he was 16 years old. Martin was charged in 2020 as a result.
The boy said that their first sexual encounter was in a Kmart parking lot located off a state highway, and then at several other lots including a park and ride, The Baltimore Sun reported last year. He claimed that Martin told her to keep their relationship a secret.
The teacher’s attorney maintained her innocence, claiming that she helped the boy out of compassion. He claimed she drove the student home on a cold day and helped teach him how to drive but maintained that there was no sexual contact.
Prosecutors, however, maintained in their closing statements that Martin abused her power.
“This is not a situation he could enter into willingly and he had to confront a trusted person, who was once his favorite teacher,” prosecutor Maria Stamidis said.
Martin worked in the Anne Arundel school system from 2007 until 2019. She taught special education and science at Chesapeake High School from 2007 to 2012 before teaching biology at South River High School from 2012 until she was put on leave. She is now able to reapply to teach.
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