A former Maryland middle school aide and track coach accused of sexually assaulting 42 juveniles pleaded guilty Friday to more than two dozen charges of child sex abuse, officials said.
The Charles County State's Attorney's Office says 30-year-old Carlos Bell entered the guilty plea to 27 counts. His trial on 206 child abuse offenses had been set to begin Monday.
Prosecutors say Bell abused boys at his Waldorf home as well as at his workplace, Benjamin Stoddert Middle School, between May 2015 and June 2017. The state's attorney's office said the ages of the alleged victims ranged from 11 to 17 years old.
Police said Bell allegedly assaulted students without wearing protection, but investigators said they were not aware of any of the victims testing positive for HIV.
Authorities began investigating Bell in December 2016 after a parent found inappropriate text messages on her child's phone. At that time, Bell was removed from his position as track coach at La Plata High School.
In addition to the alleged assaults, police said child pornography was found on Bell's home computer and electronic devices. After Bell was arrested in June, Charles County Sheriff Troy Berry said some of the "graphic images" showed Bell having sex with students.
Bell is scheduled to be sentenced March 28. He faces up to 190 years in prison.
Charles County State’s Attorney Anthony Covington told Fox5 that prosecutors wanted to reach a plea deal with Bell in order to spare the alleged victims from testifying against him.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.