Following his indictment on federal charges that carry lengthy mandatory minimum sentences, the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office on Friday dropped its case against a former teacher at the Gilman School who’s accused of sexually abusing a student.

Chris Bendann, 39, of Towson, who worked at the private, independent, all-boys school in Roland Park in Baltimore from 2007 to 2023, had been charged in Baltimore County Circuit Court with sexual abuse of a minor and related offenses. He’s accused of sexually abusing a student starting when the young man was 15.

Bendann was indicted on Aug. 16 in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of possession of child pornography.

In an interview, Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger said his office had a long discussion with the family of the young man who reported that Bendann sexually abused him and decided not to pursue to the case to spare him from having to testify at trial. If he’s convicted in federal court, Bendann faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison on each count of sexual exploitation of a minor.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Shellenberger noted that there is no statute of limitations for felonies in Maryland and that his office could refile the charges.

“We haven’t lost anything,” Shellenberger said. “And the thing we’ve gained is not having the victim have to testify in a courtroom in front of people.”

The move comes ahead of a motions hearing that had been scheduled for next week in the case.

Kobie Flowers, Bendann’s attorney, declined to comment.

From the beginning, Bendann has maintained his innocence. In a post on Facebook and Instagram, Bendann wrote that he wanted his family members and friends to know that “these allegations are false.”

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

“Unfortunately, I am now one of the 3,337 people who have been wrongly accused in this great country since 1989,” Bendann wrote. “Like those people, I expect that, in the end, the truth will show that I am innocent.”

Later, Bendann and Flowers held a news conference on the steps of the Baltimore County Courts Building.

That’s when Bendann asserted that the Gilman School and the Baltimore County State’s Attorney’s Office had done their best to defame his character and make his former students question their relationships with him.

The FBI received court approval to continue searching Bendann’s electronic devices. Less than two weeks after that news conference, a grand jury returned the new six-count indictment.

U.S. Magistrate Judge J. Mark Coulson has ordered Bendann to remain incarcerated while he awaits his trial.

dylan.segelbaum@thebaltimorebanner.com

More From The Banner