Day school staffer resigns after arrest

Mike Riley, formerly the athletic director at Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, resigned following his arrest on charges of sexual assault. Montgomery County Police Department

This story has been updated to correct a previous version that incorrectly stated that Mike Riley was fired from Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School. He resigned.

Mike Riley resigned as the athletic director of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, following his arrest on May 1 stemming from an allegation made last month that as a teacher in the 1980s he had an ongoing sexual relationship with a 16-year-old female student at Rockville High School.

His resignation was confirmed by head of school Rabbi Mitchel Malkus.

Malkus said the former Rockville High student, who he declined to name for privacy reasons, wrote to Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in mid-April with the allegations. The school then reported the information to Montgomery County Police.

“I was shocked at the allegations,” he said. “Since the woman was someone not familiar to us and we had no relationship with her, we didn’t know what to make of it. But we knew it was serious and it needed to be dealt with quickly.”

Police began investigating the allegations on April 20, and obtained an arrest warrant four days later, according to a statement from the Montgomery County Police Department. Riley, 63, turned himself in to detectives on May 1.

That day, Malkus sent a letter to school families, notifying them of Riley’s arrest and announcing that Riley had been “placed on leave shortly thereafter.” The letter also stated that school officials did not believe he had engaged in “any inappropriate conduct” during his eight years at the Jewish day school.

Malkus said because the incident occurred more than 30 years ago at a different school, his school did not conduct its own internal investigation after receiving the allegations.

“Obviously every incident is different,” he said. “If someone brings an allegation to us, we need to report it to the authorities within 48 hours, and then we would look into it ourselves. If we know the person who is making an allegation, it’s a lot easier for us to know.”

Although Riley had “minimal contact” with students, according to Malkus, guidance counselors and other professionals have offered to discuss the situation with students during the last few weeks. Malkus said the mood in the school surrounding Riley’s departure has been one of astonishment.

“The person who we know at the school who had been a valued employee for close to eight years didn’t match up with the allegations and their serious nature,” he said. “So I think people were shocked and saddened to hear about that.”

Riley is due to appear in Maryland District Court on June 15, said Ramon Korionoff, a spokesman for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office. At that point, a judge will determine whether Riley will be indicted. He declined to speculate on possible penalties Riley could face if found guilty.

Although Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School teachers and administrators must pass a background check, Malkus said they are not required to be licensed by the Maryland Department of Education because it is a private school. Riley’s teaching certification expired in 2013, said William Reinhard, a spokesman for the department. Following media reports of the arrest, Reinhard said Riley’s teaching file was flagged for investigation, but no issues were found.

Riley’s attorney, John Kudel, did not return phone calls.

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