Community reacts to guidance counselor facing sexual assault charges
SALISBURY, Md. – A community is in disbelief after learning that Allen Mitchell, a guidance counselor at James M. Bennett High School and JV boys basketball coach at Parkside, allegedly sexually assaulted not one but three female students who went to school in the county.
“It was a little hard to believe at first because he’s a guidance counselor and I thought wow he’s doing a good thing and then you find out that he isn’t and it’s very disturbing,” says Mary Ellen Brown, Mitchell’s neighbor.
In documents obtained by 47 ABC, the three victims, all under the age of 18, told authorities that Mitchell was mainly using Snapchat asking them to send nudes and sending them in return.
Authorities say they also found pictures of the victims on Allen’s iPhone, but it wasn’t just conversations via Snapchat.
According to court documents, one of the victims actually had been babysitting for Mitchell since 2015 at his home in Fruitland where he asked her to perform sexual acts.
“I just feel bad for the everybody. I feel bad for the victims, I feel bad for his daughter.”
Neighbors I spoke to tell me it’s all so disheartening, disturbing and heartbreaking.
“I hope that he can be helped through this and mainly his victims they’re the ones that are really going to need guidance from somebody that is going to help them.”
Wicomico County Public Schools tells 47 ABC that Mitchell has been a full time employee since 2010 and a guidance counselor for the school system since 2015.
And while everyone is still trying to wrap their heads around the news about a trusted counselor and coach, a psychologist we spoke Monday says although devastating, something like this is actually the perfect opportunity to have a conversation with our kids.
“To let them know sometimes the people we trust and love can do things that aren’t okay. He betrayed their trust and also it opens the door to if anythings happened but also knowing that the kids that are not involved might be devastated. This is someone that they trusted maybe someone who was a friend to them,” explains Donna Leffew, Clinical Director from Life Crisis Center.
We’re told its also important to know that children don’t generally lie about things like this and that it’s best to trust your kids before dismissing anything they have to say.