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MCPS parents, educators determined to spot, prevent sexual abuse of children

Jose Pineda. (Photo: police mugshot)

ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJLA) – A group of parents, educators and school board members met Wednesday night in Rockville to learn how to spot and prevent sexual abuse of children.

The event had been scheduled before recent headlines involving Montgomery County Public Schools employees charged with abusing children arose, but took on new urgency in light of those headlines.

"There was a situation that occurred at my daughter's middle school," said Sumbal Sheldon, a parent who attended.

Sheldon has two daughters, one of whom is a student at Ridgeview Middle School. Ridgeview is one of several middle schools where a former substitute teacher is accused of inappropriately touching girls.

Jose Pineda is facing sex offense charges related to four alleged victims.

"I actually feel like maybe I was a little naive. This kind of came to light and now I realize I just need to be a little more aware," Sheldon said. "You really just have to be always aware of the people you surround your children with, whether it be their babysitter, or even just a good friend."

Wednesday night's event was held at the Montgomery County Public Schools headquarters in Rockville. It was called Darkness to Light and was sponsored by the county's Council of Parent-Teacher Associations.

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