Former Member of State Advisory Panel for Special Education Sentenced for Child Sex Abuse

A DC Superior Court judge sentenced a former vice-chairman of DC’s State Advisory Panel for Special Education to seven-and-a-half years in prison for child sex abuse.

“I’m struggling with the words for how bad this is,” said Judge Jonathan Pittman, who described the abuse as a “betrayal of trust.”

Back in June, Aaron McCormick pleaded guilty to first-degree child sex abuse for abusing a 13-year-old child with disabilities. The victim, who was on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), was temporarily living with McCormick in his home. The judge said the living arrangement was recommended by an organization working with the victim’s family. D.C. Witness does not know the name of the organization.

The victim’s mother spoke during the Aug. 17 hearing, noting that her daughter did not wish to attend. She said McCormick, 55, did whatever he could to get close to her family and her daughter. As a single parent, she said she saw McCormick’s help as a positive thing for her family, not expecting it to lead to abuse. She said her daughter is now receiving counseling.

The victim’s grandmother said she knew something was wrong “in the pit of my (her) stomach.”

“Justice, that’s all we want is justice,” the grandmother said.

Judge Pittman said he considered rejecting the plea deal, but did not want the victim to have to testify at trial.

The prosecutor said McCormick sexually abused the victim in nearly every room of his home and that, while the abuse was happening, he appeared on a panel and spoke about the difficulties children with disabilities face during the COVID-19 pandemic in regards to education.

“He is a sexual predator,” the prosecution said.

Defense attorney Mathew Davies noted that this is his client’s first time being convicted of such an offense and that McCormick is also a Navy Veteran and father.

McCormick also spoke at the hearing, saying he accepts the punishment he is given for his actions. He said this is the first and last time this will ever happen.

McCormick has been held at DC Jail since his initial hearing in December 2020. He will receive credit for time served.

McCormick’s seven-and-a-half-year prison sentence will be followed by ten years of supervised release. He will be required to register as a sex offender for ten years and is not allowed to have unsupervised contact with minors, elderly people or disabled people. He also cannot spend time in areas primarily used by children during that time period.

Judge Pittman ended the hearing by encouraging the victim’s family, saying that what happened to the victim does not have to define her life.

“There is hope,” he said.