A child sexual abuse case against a Montgomery County middle school teacher began Tuesday with prosecutors and defense attorneys sparring over the victim’s reliability as a witness.
“I’m not here to defend child abuse. … I’m here to defend a very fine man and a dedicated teacher who has been with Montgomery County Public Schools for over 20 years,” said defense attorney Reginald W. Bours III in defense of his client, Neelsville Middle School English teacher Cuyler J. Cornell, in county circuit court Tuesday.
Bours went on to question the reliability of the victim, a 15-year-old boy who first met Cornell when he took his class during the 2010-2011 school year. In his opening statements Tuesday, Bours asked jurors to compare his client’s otherwise clean criminal record with the victim, who Bours described as “a very troubled young man,” and “a frequent flier,” when it comes to school discipline and counseling.
Assistant State’s Attorney Timothy Hagan, on the other hand, condemned Cornell for taking advantage of the victim, who Hagan described as confused and vulnerable. Hagan told the jury that Cornell recognized the victim’s troubled home life and cultivated a “special” relationship with him early on...