Lawmakers Push to Keep Juvenile Sex Offenders Out of Maryland Schools

Annapolis, MD – Maryland lawmakers are swiftly moving forward with legislation to prohibit juvenile sex offenders from attending public schools. This comes after a Project Baltimore investigation revealed a 15-year-old rapist was attending Patterson High School in Baltimore City.

Similar legislation was passed in 2021, but it only applied to adult sex offenders, not juveniles. That loophole allowed the 15-year-old rapist to slip through the cracks and attend Patterson High undetected.

“This emergency bill is urgently needed to protect Maryland students,” said Senator Kathy Klausmeier. She helped introduce the original legislation in 2020 after Project Baltimore exposed a registered 21-year-old sex offender attending Parkville High School.

The 2020 law banned registered adult sex offenders from schools and imposed penalties for violations. But it did not include juveniles. The state Inspector General warned about this oversight in 2021, cautioning that schools cannot account for juvenile sex offenders.

Just three years later, that warning became reality when Project Baltimore reported the 15-year-old rapist at Patterson High in January 2024. Because he was a juvenile not listed on the sex offender registry, parents and students were unaware of his presence.

“We must take steps to close this loophole and expand the protections of the 2021 law,” said Delegate Luke Clippinger of Baltimore City.

Legislation introduced by Delegate Nino Mangione and Senator Johnny Salling, both Baltimore County Republicans, would prohibit both adult and juvenile sex offenders from attending public schools in-person. Schools would be required to provide alternative education options.

With only seven weeks left in the legislative session, lawmakers are rushing to pass the expanded protections. Prominent Democrats like Senate President Bill Ferguson and Delegate Clippinger have also voiced support to include juveniles in the school ban.

“We want to protect Marylanders while ensuring juveniles can complete their education,” said Clippinger.

The 15-year-old rapist was not previously listed on the juvenile sex offender registry, which is confidential. But sources say he has now been added, allowing law enforcement to track his status.