SNOW HILL — A former Worcester County public school substitute teacher indicted by a grand jury last August for allegedly fostering a relationship with a 13-year-old student was sentenced this week to over five years in jail, all but one of which was then suspended.
Last August, a Worcester County grand jury indicted Russell Keith Barbely, Jr., 21, of Newark, on numerous charges including three counts each of third- and fourth-degree sex offense, four counts of sexual solicitation of a minor, three counts of second-degree assault and one count of the use of a computer to depict or describe a minor engaging in a sexual act following an investigation by the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI).
The investigation began on July 11 when WCBI detectives met with the 13-year-old juvenile female victim’s father at the Child Advocacy Center, or Cricket Center, in Berlin. According to the victim’s father, the minor met Barbely when he served as a substitute teacher at Snow Hill Middle School from last December to June. However, the allegations leading to the indictment did not occur on school property, according to police reports.
Evidence collected during the investigation suggests Barbely used Facebook to foster the relationship with the minor victim. According to charging documents, the Barbely and the student exchanged numerous messages through Facebook and had made tentative plans to meet for a sexual encounter.
Barbely was taken into custody on July 27 after a search and seizure warrant was executed on his residence in Newark. Barbely was charged initially with 14 total counts including third- and fourth-degree sexual assault, second-degree assault, sexual solicitation of a minor and the use of a computer to depict or describe a minor engaging in sexual conduct.
In late December, Barbely pleaded guilty to one count of sexual solicitation of a minor and one count of fourth-degree sex offense. Back in court on Wednesday, Barbely was sentenced to five year for the fourth-degree sex offense count, all but one year of which was suspended. He was also sentenced to nine months for the sexual solicitation charge, which he will serve concurrently with the first sentence. Barbely was also ordered to register as Tier 2 sex offender for 15 years.