Monday, July 24, 2006

Police Looking for More Victims of Stanley Virgil Ashman, who taught at the Park School from 1972 to 1997

Baltimore County police Monday asked anyone with information to call the department's Family Crimes Unit at 410-853-3650.

Stanley Virgil Ashman

<>Ex-Park teacher accused in abuse
Man, 60, is arrested years after girl said incidents happened
Baltimore Sun
July 24, 2006

A former teacher at an elite Baltimore County private school has been accused of sexual abuse by a student who came forward three decades after the alleged incidents because she learned that he had returned to teaching in another state.

Stanley Virgil Ashman, who taught at the Park School from 1972 to 1997 and, more recently at another school in Michigan, is accused of having sex with a then-14-year-old girl at his Baltimore home and at the Park School.

The headmaster from the school issued a statement Monday saying that officials became aware of the allegation in 1997 and reported it to state social services officials.

The state keeps a database of child abusers that is shared with educators and others conducting background checks, a spokeswoman said Monday. It was unclear Monday whether police investigated the allegations against Ashman nine years ago.

Officials at the Roeper School, which educates gifted students in suburban Detroit, said their background checks on the teacher, including the most recent one in April, had come up clean.

Randall Dunn, the head of the Michigan school, issued a statement saying there had been no complaints about Ashman. He said Ashman, a social studies teacher, taught at the school for six years.

Cathy Wilmer, a math and English teacher at the school and mother of two boys who were taught by Ashman there, said she was shocked to hear of the allegations.

"He took great care with everything he did with the kids," she said. "We really have nothing but high regards for the man."

A woman who had been a student of Ashman's in the 1970s at the Park School contacted police in May to say she had been sexually abused, according to court records. The woman told police that as a youngster she sometimes watched Ashman's children while he graded papers at his home in the Pimlico area of Baltimore.

She said they had sex several times a week through her ninth-, tenth- and eleventh-grade years, usually at the teacher's house. She also said they had sex in a wooded area at the school and in a closet, the court records show.

In May, police overheard a telephone conversation between the woman and Ashman in which the former teacher admitted to having sex with her when she was 14, and repeatedly apologized, according to court records.

Ashman, 60, was charged in a warrant with child abuse, police said. He was arrested June 9 in Michigan and was extradited to Baltimore County on June 20.

He was released on $25,000 bond, and is staying with friends in the area, police said.

Ashman, who is known as "Butch," is a former Marine and Vietnam veteran.

At Park, Ashman, along with a Vietnam war protester, taught a history course on the ethics of violence and nonviolence, along with a Vietnam war protester. He was also selected to work on a summer research project for the school on how best to teach history, according to news accounts.

In Michigan, members of the Wilmer family said Ashman imparted his experiences while teaching a military history class at the Roeper School.

"He was the best teacher I ever had," said 17-year-old Nathan Wilmers, who will be a freshman at the University of Chicago. "I've always know him to be somebody of great integrity."

Laura Panek, a biology teacher who said Ashman served as a mentor for her, said, "I've trusted him completely with very personal things and he's never been anything but supportive."

The Park School is a coeducational, prekindergarten-to-grade-12 school of nearly 900 students in Brooklandville. The school emphasizes debate and individual thought and expression, according to its Web site.

In a statement released Monday, David Jackson, head of the Park School, said he met with Ashman in 1997 after learning of the allegations against him, and the teacher then resigned. He told Ashman that the school would not be a reference for any future employment, and there has been no communication between the teacher and the school since, according to the statement.

Russell P. Butler, executive director of Maryland Crime Victims' Resource Center says children can be protected by something as simple as a call to check a reference, but it is harder to track down information about potential hires, especially across state lines, when an allegation hasn't resulted in a conviction.

The state of Maryland keeps a database of child abusers that can be used by educators, law enforcement officials and others conducting background checks nationally, said Elyn Jones, a spokeswoman for the state's Department of Human Resources.

The state places a person on the registry when an investigation finds evidence that they've abused a child. The finding would mean that there was evidence to warrant criminal charges against that person, Jones said.

The person's name would remain on the registry even if charges were dropped or a person was found not guilty. A name can be removed from the registry by administrative appeal, Jones said. The state does not keep records when a claim of abuse is found to be unsubstantiated, she said.

In a case such as Ashman's, social services agencies at the county or state level would not investigate because the victim was already an adult when the allegation is said to have been made, Jones said. Instead, Jones said, the information would be forwarded to police.

Baltimore County and City police were not able to say Monday whether they had investigated the matter nine years ago.

Baltimore County police Monday asked anyone with information to call the department's Family Crimes Unit at 410-853-3650.

Sun reporters Nicole Fuller and Liz F. Kay contributed to this article.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a "jewish survivors" blog. Not every story of molestation needs to be put here. it just dilutes the stories that effect us as a community.

July 25, 2006 7:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that Butch was one of the best teachers I ever had and the reaction of all of my classmates to the media coverage and the charges has been one of shock.

He was one of the best teachers most of us ever had and it saddens me that the actions of his past will not give any future students the benfit of taking his class.

This is not to say any of us condone his behavior, but the media has petrayed him as a low life. He had just returned from Vietnam when the incident occured and, I believe, he has been suffering from PTSD ever since.

again, i want to reiterate that i believe what he did was wrong and that he should be punished for his actions - but i also believe he has been suffering for the mistake for a long time and that the media has overlooked all of the great contributions he has made to all of his students.

July 26, 2006 9:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to say the same thing- Butch was the most influential teacher I've ever had. I spent many afternoons at his home with his son and fiancee, and I've never felt safer. This man has clearly paid his debt to society by taking on the difficult task of being one of the most beloved Roeper teachers.

July 27, 2006 5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I and all of us of the Roeper community would have, and still would, put our lives and the lives of anyone we loved in Butch's hands. I do not stretch the truth to say that this sentiment is utterly unanimous.

August 05, 2006 12:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some of you are delusional. You cuddle a child molester as if it was a traffic ticket. Can you say statutory rape.
The feelings, such as yours, at Roeper, thank goodness, are not unanimous. Butch is a nice man and only a man but some of you act as if he is the second coming. Teaching at an elite school in B'ham is not what the justice system has in mind when it talks about "paying your debt to society". The statistic are that child molesters do not change.

August 07, 2006 3:37 PM  
Blogger trc19 said...

Some of you are delusional. Can you say Statutory Rape. This is a man who abused his position of trust for his own sexual gratification with a 14 year old. How low is that? Thank goodness, your feelings are not unanimous in the Roeper community.
Teaching at another elite school with young girls is not "paying your debt to society" Prison is.

August 07, 2006 3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

butch ashman was the best teacher i ever had, and a great friend. i stand by him, and the man he is today, along with the majority of the roeper community.

August 07, 2006 6:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just heard of this. Butch Ashman was my teacher at the Park School from 1994-1998 and I have nothing but the highest regards for him. I cannot reconcile his actions with the teacher I knew.

August 22, 2006 4:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanted to add that Mr. Ashman was my teacher in 9th great and he was always professional, amazingly hard working and supportive.

August 24, 2006 12:44 PM  
Anonymous jinpa said...

I was also a student of Butch Ashman's in the 1970's at Park School. Additionally, I did child care with his children several times during my 10th grade year. I was shocked when I read the article about this case, but not altogether incredulous. Butch was an excellent teacher, somewhat of a confidant for me, and yet now clearly confused about engaging in unethical and unhealthy conduct with at least one female student in the 1970's, and possibly at other times.

I may remember for many years to come some passionately delivered comments he made, at the time I was one of his students, about how we, as students, "earned our grades"; they were not just doled out to us by our teachers, at least not by him. This was a talk about cause and effect, and it now has a pointed and poignant place in my mind as I contemplate a more complete picture of Butch's life. It can be difficult to embrace the paradox of someone being a genuinely fine teacher and making such grave mistakes, which hurt at least one person at the time. He is a human being, not "a low life," and he has to face the consequences of his actions, as do most of us at one time or another in our lives. To his credit, he seems to be not denying his actions, and seems authentic in his regret for hurting this woman when she was a girl. Can we judge the man's actions without condemning everything about the man?

May all the parties involved find a peaceful compassionate outcome as the situation unfolds.

August 26, 2006 12:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Butch was one of the better teachers that I had at Park School and I was very sad to hear about this incident. I feel sorry for this woman and the weight of this experience but I also feel sorry for Butch and the slandering that's happening to him. I have a strong feeling that this was an isolated incident (which does not make it right in any way) and this is not in his true character. Butch is idealistic and intelligent and seemed far from a lecherous pedophile when I was his student in the 80's.

August 28, 2006 4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The people who are saying things against Butch obviousely didn't know him. I've gone to the Roeper School my entire life, and have had many great teachers, but he was by far the best. He is the most fair, realistic, kind, and intelligent man I have ever encountered. I was so surprised to hear of these alligations. Keep in mind that he had just gotten back from the war and was probably messed up; because he has certainly changed since then. He truly is an amazing man. I would trust him with my life.

September 24, 2006 2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was also a student of Butch's last year, in my ninth grade year. I would have to agree with every other Roeper student who has commented here in saying that Butch is nothing but a wonderful man who I still hold in my highest regards despite the allegations against him. The way the media has villanized him is despicable and I think I speak for all of Roeper when I say he will be sorely missed in years to come.

September 24, 2006 7:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's really sad how individuals who have been never sexually victimized will support a rape suspect without knowing all the information.

I hate to say this but when it comes to childhood sexual abuse allegations, I'd believe the victim before I'd believe the offender.

All one has to do is look at the survivors life prior to the alleged crime to afterwards.

When you are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse it changes you forever.

I'm sick and tired of the BS that goes on and how our society automatically wants to call the victim a villian. It's about time that the tables are turned and those that are the offenders are seen for what they really are.

Yeah right, "a nice guy" who likes to have sex with kids!

September 24, 2006 8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To whoever wrote that last comment:

That was 30 years ago. Yes, it was wrong. But yes, he has changed. He was shaken from the war, and did something wrong, but it's been decades and we all know he's turned into an amazing person.

September 24, 2006 8:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if those he victimized have healed? I wonder what their lives are like?

I wonder if he ever paid restitution to them? What losses has his victims had to face?

This isn't all about Stanley Virgil Ashman. This is about those who will have to live with their scars the rest of their lives.

He may have been the best teacher ever to some, but to others they call him a sex offender. You were very lucky he didn't get you.

September 24, 2006 11:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Those"? I believe it was just one girl. And I always used to see alleged sex offenders on TV and think, "that's horrible, how could someone do something like that; I wouldn't want him anywhere near me." But I believe Butch had a relationship with this girl that was not abusive (it lasted for 3 YEARS!!), and that even though it was wrong, he has changed since then. He has to have. He is the most amazing person I know. If you have never met Butch, you can't really say things like that. You have no idea how greatly he has influenced anyone who has had the opportunity to meet him.

September 25, 2006 7:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lucky he didnt get me?! you dont know the man. i had him as a teacher for a year, and knew him for 3 years befor then, he is one of the best people i ever knew. if theirs anything ive learnt from this its that we should not make judgement calls on people we dont know.

March 12, 2007 1:14 PM  
Anonymous Brian said...

Butch was one of my teachers at Roeper in 2005...Without his knowledge and support i would have never made it very far with my career choice..he told me i could do anything as long as i put my mind to it..this is why today i am a police officer! Butch was a great man and he may have made a mistake back then, but he just got out of Vietnam...a very nasty war, and he was just a kid..though i dont excuse the behavior, i dont believe the whole story either..i stand by him. He was, and is a great man!

February 19, 2010 3:44 PM  

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