Anne Arundel County State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess announced today that Mark Thoms, 41, a former behavior specialist at Mary Moss Academy, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for sex abuse of a minor and continuing course of conduct.

The Severna Park resident entered a plea of guilty to the charges on April 30, 2021.
“Sexual abuse against a minor is a particularly heinous crime, because it involves a violation of trust as well as the exploitation of a child,” said State’s Attorney Anne Colt Leitess. “Thoms preyed upon a vulnerable family by convincing the child’s parent that he could assist them in caring for a victim who was disadvantaged economically and suffered from behavioral issues. It is clear that he picked this particular victim and family for the purpose of gaining access to the child so that he could abuse her. Our office is committed to holding such offenders accountable and I am thankful that this abuse came to light and the Defendant has been removed from the community. If you know someone who is a victim of sexual abuse, please encourage them to tell a trusted adult, guidance counselor at school or call the Sexual Assault Crisis Center and Hotline at 410-222-6800.”

Assistant State’s Attorney Mary-Ann Burkhart prosecuted this case on behalf of the citizens of Anne Arundel County.

On August 12, 2020, Anne Arundel County Police Department received a report from the victim’s mother that her minor daughter told her that she had been sexually abused by Mark Thoms, who she met while she was a student at Mary Moss Academy.

Shortly after, the Anne Arundel County Department of Social Services was notified and conducted a forensic interview at the Child Advocacy Center in Millersville. During her interview, the victim said that Thoms had sexually abused her over a span of three years with the first incident occurring when she was just 11 years old.

The victim explained that she was first sexually abused by Thoms at his Annapolis residence. He told her to come to sit on his lap and then began touching her vagina. The defendant stopped when someone opened the door. In another instance, the victim stated that Thoms would make her walk around the house with no underwear and would force her to touch his private areas.

The victim reported that within a week of being at his residence, he had begun raping her. The victim also stated that the defendant gave her alcohol and marijuana. During a camping trip, the victim said that while Thoms was sexually abusing her, he covered her mouth with his hand so she wouldn’t make any noise.

Thoms had befriended the child’s parent and convinced the family that he could assist in helping them deal with the child’s behavioral issues.

The victim said that the defendant sexually assaulted her more than 40 times at his Annapolis and Severna Park residences.

The Honorable Michael Wachs presided over the case.

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