A former teacher at the Gilman School who’s accused of victimizing a student and recording videos of the sexual abuse will not be released at this time from federal custody, after he and his father declined to agree to stringent conditions.
U.S. District Chief Judge James K. Bredar last week ruled that Chris Bendann, who worked at the independent, private all-boys school in Roland Park in Baltimore from 2007-2023, could be released and placed on 24/7 home confinement at his father’s home under strict conditions. One of them was that internet service needed to be cut off at the house except to maintain essential functions, such as the air conditioning and burglary alarm.
During a hearing on Thursday, Kobie Flowers, Bendann’s attorney, asked the judge whether he would be open to modifying those conditions. Bendann’s father, Lance, is retired but runs a small fine art business and needs access to a computer and cellphone.
Bredar said Bendann cannot reside at a home where there is any ability to access the internet.
“The court has set its criteria. These are the conditions,” Bredar said. “The court does not intend to modify its order.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Colleen McGuinn had expressed a concern that Bendann could use the internet to intimidate witnesses.
If circumstances change, Bredar said, his ruling that Bendann can be released under strict conditions remains in effect. He could file a motion, and the court would schedule a hearing.
Bendann, 39, of Baltimore, is charged in U.S. District Court in Baltimore with five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of possession of child pornography.
He had initially been charged in Baltimore County with sexual abuse of a minor and related offenses. From the beginning, he has professed his innocence.
“Unfortunately, I am now one of the 3,337 people who have been wrongly accused in this great country since 1989,” Bendann wrote in a post on Facebook and Instagram. “Like those people, I expect that, in the end, the truth will show that I am innocent.”