2 charged with arson at Gaitherburg High
Two Gaithersburg High students have been arrested and charged with felony arson in connection with a fire that destroyed the school's baseball press box and rendered its field unplayable last week.
Charges are pending against a third Gaithersburg student, according to Montgomery County Fire and Rescue assistant chief Scott Graham.
Zach Maurer, an 18-year-old senior and four-year starter on the school's lacrosse team, was arrested Wednesday and charged with second-degree arson, first-degree malicious burning, disturbing a school operation, two counts of school trespassing and/or property damage, conspiracy to commit second-degree arson and conspiracy to commit first-degree malicious burning.
If convicted of all crimes, Maurer would face a maximum penalty of 51 1/2 years in prison and/or $74,500 in fines.
At a hearing Thursday, Maurer was released after posting $10,000 bond with the stipulation that he adhere to a curfew and not return to the school without permission from school administrators.
"We're really not very far along so I haven't seen much," said Maurer's attorney, Ed Tydings. "I've seen the police report. It all came pretty fast."
The other defendant and other suspect are 16-year-old juniors at Gaithersburg. The one who was charged also is a starter on the lacrosse team; at a hearing Wednesday, facing the same charges as Maurer, he was committed to a juvenile facility until his trial next month. The other suspect is a member of the Trojans' soccer team. Maurer and the charged 16-year-old have been suspended from school for 10 days and the county has started expulsion proceedings. The Washington Post generally does not identify juveniles charged with crimes.
The two-story press box burned down April 6, causing an estimated $10,000 in damage to the structure and another $10,000 in lost property. The team played two games at a municipal park until repairs were made.
"I think it's a very unfortunate situation; hopefully they will learn a lesson from this," Gaithersburg baseball coach Jeff Rabberman said. "I'm glad we found out who it was. It was very upsetting that somebody would do that to their own school."
-- Josh Barr
Washington Post editors
| April 16, 2010; 10:50 AM ET
Tags: Gaithersburg High School, Gaithersburg Maryland, Maryland, Montgomery
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