Christopher Bendann, the former Gilman School teacher accused of sexually abusing a student, will be detained in the wake of new federal charges filed against him, a judge ruled today.
Bendann had been free on home detention on Baltimore County charges last week when he was arrested by federal agents. He was indicted in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of possessing child pornography.
Earlier this year, his attorneys had successfully argued for his release to his father’s North Baltimore home, citing his lack of a criminal record and other factors.
Bendann, who taught at the Gilman School between 2007 and 2023, maintains his innocence.
Today an 11-page memorandum was released by prosecutors containing new and explicit details of Bendann’s actions as well as accounts of three other alleged teen victims.
Prosecutors asked the judge to detain Bendann until his trial, saying the 39-year-old poses a danger to children.
Alcohol and “Grooming”
Bendann has a “troubling history of grooming behaviors with students, furnishing them with alcohol, watching them run or swim while naked, and requesting photos of them over Snapchat,” according to the memo presented by U.S. Attorney Erek L. Barron and Assistant U.S. Attorney Colleen McGuinn.
“Bendann extorted minor victim, even into early adulthood, threatening to publish the explicit images if Minor Victim did not comply with his disturbing demands to continue contact with Bendann and to send explicit images and videos,” prosecutors said.
“When Bendann learned his conduct had been reported, he deleted his collection of files of sexual exploitation of Minor Victim, and then called Minor Victim and told him that he had deleted the files, asking Minor Victim if he was the person who reported him,” they wrote.
The memorandum also detailed allegations by other victims that are “still being investigated at the state level.”
These ranged from students who were told to run naked at a county park while Bendann watched to a student who said Bendann sexually assaulted him when he was 16 and Bendann was babysitting him at his family’s house.
Warned by School Officials
The memorandum also noted that officials at the Gilman School had repeatedly warned Bendann about inappropriate interactions with students.
“Bendann was counseled by the administration more than once to have clearer boundaries with students, to not socialize with them outside of the school (like going to dinner and movies) and to remain free from physical contact as well,” the memo said.
U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Mark Coulson agreed that Bendann posed “a risk to the safety of the community” and ordered him to remain incarcerated.
If convicted, Bendann faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years and a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison for each of the five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and a maximum of 10 years in prison for possession of child pornography.
Here is the complete text of the “Memo in Support of Pre-trial Detention.”