Saturday, February 23, 2008

Mom ‘relieved’ imprisoned teacher will be freed

Story here

BALTIMORE (Map, News) - Nearly three years after he was accused of an unthinkable crime, Dana Bankins’ son is coming home.

“I’m feeling a lot better,” Bankins said from her East Baltimore home Friday. “I’m relieved.”

The road to freedom hasn’t been easy for Bankins’ son, Charles Carroll, 31, who won acquittal on rape charges in August but remained locked behind bars awaiting a parole hearing.

Prison spokesman Mark Vernarelli said Carroll will be released sometime next week, because a parole commissioner ruled Thursday he violated parole, but had accumulated enough good time credits to be freed.

In 2005, Carroll was a teacher at an East Baltimore private school, Community Initiatives Academy, where a 13-year-old girl claimed he raped her on a classroom floor. Two other girls said he sexually assaulted them, according to police.

Carroll was acquitted of the rape of the 13-year-old in August, and prosecutors dropped the two other cases.

Yet, Carroll remained locked up awaiting a commissioner’s ruling on whether the arrest, itself, violated his parole.

An ex-convict guilty of second-degree murder at age 17, Carroll turned himself into the police in 1993 and served a seven-year sentence, then pursued education and got a job, his family said.

Christina Phillips Holtsclaw, the principal who hired Carroll at Community Initiatives Academy, said she hired him to teach because he deserved a second chance.

Carroll’s attorney argued through his August trial that his main accuser was motivated by money and had filed a civil suit against Carroll and the school.

Bankins said she’s planning a “welcome home” party for her son.

“You’re supposed to be innocent until proven guilty,” Bankins said. “He was guilty until he was proven innocent. It's been very close to three years based on a false story.”