ROCKVILLE – Special Victims Investigation Division (SVID) detectives of the Montgomery County Police (MCP) arrested a 42-year-old Colonel Zadok Magruder High School teacher on Nov. 20 for the sexual abuse of one of his students. He was charged with one count of sexual assault of a minor and four counts of fourth-degree sexual offense by a person of authority.

The teacher, Peter Wright Priest Mason of the 6700 block of Oakridge Road in Lake Linganore, outside New Market in Frederick County, has worked for Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) since 2011. Mason was a paraeducator at Northwest High School before he moved to Magruder in 2015 to work as a special education teacher.

Since the end of the 2018-2019 school year, Mason came into personal contact with a 17-year-old female student through Snapchat, and later through Facetime and phone conversations.

According to court records, on Sept. 3, Mason told the student that he was “interested in her.”

With school underway, they met weekly in a park near Magruder, driving there separately after classes, according to police. There, they allegedly engaged in sexual acts at least four times. In one of these instances, Mason met the student early in the morning in his classroom. This continued on until at least mid-October.

“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,” according to court documents.

According to Mason’s arrest warrant, Mason confessed his “physical relationship” with the student to a family member. SVID detectives contacted after this on Nov. 2, where they began their investigation.

“If somebody came to us with any type of allegation and we didn’t investigate, that would be a negligence of our duties,” MCP spokesperson Officer Rick Goodale said on starting the investigation following the confession.

Police officials interviewed the student, who described the sexual offenses to detectives. Records noted the student used the word “sex” to describe the offenses Mason is charged with. In Maryland, the age of consent is 16, but it is illegal for a person in a position of authority to engage in sexual relations with anyone under 18-years old.

The warrant was issued on Nov. 6. On Nov. 21, Mason was denied bail by a district court judge.

The school placed Mason on unpaid administrative leave as soon as detectives notified the administration of the charges against him.

In a statement to parents, Magruder Principal Dr. Leroy Evans wrote that the charges were “deeply concerning and unacceptable and represent a serious breach of trust, responsibility, integrity and the law.”

The warrant was issued on Nov. 6. On Nov. 21, Mason was denied bail by a district court judge.

The school placed Mason on unpaid administrative leave as soon as detectives notified the administration of the charges against him.

Mason is scheduled for a preliminary hearing at Montgomery County District Court on Dec. 20.

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