A former Duke Ellington School of the Arts teacher who has been accused of sexual abuse by at least two former students was arrested over the weekend, the News4 I-Team has learned.
Mark Williams is the former head of the acclaimed art school’s Literary Media and Communications Department. In 2022, the I-Team reported two women -- who had never previously shared their stories publicly and who did not know each other – said they were abused by Williams while students at the school.
The I-Team found complaints about the teacher were made to the school, the school district and police in 2004 and 2018, but Williams didn’t face charges at the time. Following the I-Team’s reporting, D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department assigned a new detective to investigate the allegations.
Maryland district court records show Williams was arrested Sunday at the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, listed as a fugitive from justice from Washington.
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Multiple sources familiar with Williams said he's been living overseas for several years, which is why police have been unable to track him down until now. D.C. police learned Thursday Williams was back in the country and issued an arrest warrant for him Friday. He was attempting to leave the country again when he was arrested, police said.
He’s now in custody in Anne Arundel County and will be extradited to D.C.
According to warrant information obtained by the I-Team, he’s been charged with first-degree sex abuse of a secondary education student in January 2014.
The I-Team previously told the story of a woman who graduated from Duke Ellington in 2014 and said she was abused by Williams. The woman never came forward with her story until the I-Team approached her in 2021.
"There's like a certain level of shame that will keep silence going on for a very long time," the woman told the I-Team at the time.
Attorney Dawn Jackson represented another woman in a civil case against Williams. That was dismissed due to the statute of limitations, but Jackson said she hopes he will now face justice.
“Mark was one of the people that took advantage of young women who entrusted him as a teacher,” she said. “He stole their innocence. And this is an opportunity for him to be brought to justice."
Williams resigned in January 2019 while under investigation. He could not be reached for comment Monday.
A court clerk said he was represented by a public defender in a bond hearing Monday. He was ordered held for 30 days, pending extradition. The Anne Arundel County Public Defender’s office declined comment.
In a statement to News4, a spokesperson for the Duke Ellington School of the Arts Project said, “Duke Ellington School has fully cooperated with law enforcement’s investigation of former teacher, Mark Williams.”
Stay with News4 for more on this developing story.