DIRTBAG ROUNDUP: Montgomery Police charged Magruder High School Teacher Peter Mason with sex with student at school
Special education for seventeen-year-old started six months ago, say police, in a park and in classroom
ROCKVILLE, MD. – The days of a student polishing an apple for a favorite teacher and bringing it to school have evolved into a student allegedly doing a heck of a lot more than that for a teacher at Magruder High School which has now resulted in the jailing of the special education teacher after a failed suicide attempt.
Police in Montgomery County report that Detectives from the Montgomery County Department of Police – Special Victims Investigations Division have arrested and charged Peter Wright Priest Mason, 42, (DOB 12/15/1976) of 6717 New Market, Md., for allegedly sexually abusing a Colonel Zadok Magruder High School female student.
At the time of these offenses, Mason was employed as a teacher for Montgomery County Public Schools at Colonel Zadok Magruder High School which is located at 5939 Muncaster Mill Road in Derwood.
On November 2, 2019, detectives began investigating the report that Mason had engaged in a sexual relationship with the victim and a warrant was issued on Nov. 6, 2019. Mason was suspended on administrative leave by the Montgomery County Schools on Nov. 4, 2019, but he was not named in an announcement to the public by the school system, who said they didn’t want to endanger the investigation – but more likely were concerned about dealing with union issues. The Magruder High School website has removed any trace of Mason as part of the Special Education staff.
DIDN’T THIS GUY EVER HEAR THE TERM “JAILBAIT”?
The two then met in a park on Friday afternoons after school, where they performed sex acts on each other, according to police.
Charging documents say Mason and the 17-year-old student began communicating on the mobile app Snapchat on the last day of school in the 2018-2019 school year and later started calling each other regularly.
On Sept. 3, Mason reportedly told the student he was “interested in her,” according to court documents. The two then met in a park on Friday afternoons after school, where they performed sex acts on each other, according to police.
Court documents state that Mason and the student engaged in sexual activity in the park at least four times between Sept. 3 and Oct. 14. Once during that period, the student met Mason in his classroom for sexual activity before school, when no students or employees were in the hallway.
According to court documents, the victim was a member of Mason’s special education class during the 2018-19 school year. On the final day of class, Mason and the victim exchanged Snapchat usernames.
“Victim A and Mason began to message each other regularly. Eventually, communication between Victim A and Mason expanded to Facetime and phone calls,” a detective with the Special Victims Investigations Division wrote in a statement of charges.
That same detective noted that the teenage girl was not enrolled in summer school, and because of that, Mason had no reason to be communicating with her.
The teenage girl was re-enrolled in Mason’s class for the 2019-20 school year, which started on September 3. Shortly thereafter, Mason allegedly sent the girl a Snapchat message revealing he was “interested with her.” The girl, law enforcement sources say, has emotional disabilities including high levels of anxiety.
Mason made arrangements to meet the girl at a park located near Magruder High School, court documents state. During their first off-campus encounter, the five-foot-nine, 205-pound Mason allegedly led the girl to a wooded area and kissed her.
For the following four to six weeks, Mason and the girl met every Friday in the same park following afternoon dismissal. The teacher and student would drive separately to the park, enter the wooded area and engage in oral and sexual intercourse, police allege.
In what one Magruder parent described as “shocking,” Mason and the teen are said to have met during the early morning hours of a school day and had sexual intercourse in his classroom.
“It was early enough that no other students or staff were in the hallway of the school, and the door to the classroom was kept closed,” authorities wrote in court documents. “Mason was responsible for the supervision of Victim A, as she was a student enrolled at Magruder, and more specifically a daily student in his class.”
Mason confessed to a family member and tried to take his own life, delaying his arrest
In October, Mason confessed to an undisclosed family member about his inappropriate relationship with the teen. Police were contacted shortly thereafter. Court documents do not specify who tipped them off.
Authorities filed an arrest warrant on November 6. Police were unable to arrest him until November 20. That’s because the 42-year-old attempted to take his own life and was hospitalized, people close to the criminal case told ABC7 on the condition of anonymity.
Mason lives with his wife and six-year-old daughter in a quaint subdivision along the 6700 block of Oakridge Drive in Frederick County. A wreath affixed to the front door included the word, “family.” Mason’s wife is also an educator within Montgomery County Public Schools.
On November 20, 2019, Mason was arrested by Montgomery County Police Detective J. Kafchinski on the strength of a Montgomery County arrest warrant charging him with:
- Four counts of Fourth-degree vaginal abuse by a person in authority
- One count of sexual abuse of a minor
Mason was held without bond pending a hearing on Nov. 21, 2019, and Rockville attorney David Martella is listed on court records as his attorney.
Mason has been employed with MCPS since 2011 and worked as a paraeducator at Northwest High School (located at 13501 Richter Farm Road in Germantown) from 2011 to 2015. Detectives are requesting that parents of students who may have had contact with Mason talk to their children about their interactions with him and contact Special Victim Division detectives at 240-773-5400 if they believe their child was victimized.