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The behavior, they reported, made them feel uncomfortable. Later, Puterbaugh told his side of the story — and a letter from the superintendent was placed in his personnel file. Meanwhile, Puterbaugh went on to victimize more students by secretly taking inappropriate pictures of them. He's now serving 15 years in federal prison for production of child pornography.
He also later pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the girl who had twice disclosed the abuse. Defending itself in a lawsuit, the Dover Area School District filed a memo that outlines how it says employees handled reports of sexual abuse and misconduct against Puterbaugh.
Parts of the document are vague, but it helps provide the most comprehensive to date about what happened. People who have experience in the area of child welfare or prosecuting child abuse cases described the school district's explanation as troubling and said it raises questions. Palm said mandated reporters are supposed to make a report — not try to conduct an investigation. Under the Pennsylvani Protective Services Law at the time, a school employee who had "reasonable cause to suspect" that another school employee was sexually abusing a student had to immediately contact the administrator.
That person, according to the law, had to immediately report to law enforcement and the district attorney. Many concluded that it should have notified outside authorities, at least in and People who were in the chain of command failed to make reports — and do so immediately — to the appropriate authorities, he said. Still, Cervone called the decision about whether to report the complaints in as "the classic judgment call on the part of a mandated reporter. Twenty years ago, "we were in a different space," he said. Today, he said, "we don't tolerate touching.
Paskey said he found it curious that school employees felt they had enough to go to a guidance counselor or a principal, but no outside reports were made.
To Jonelle Harter Eshbach, a civil practice and criminal defense attorney in York County, who supervised the grand jury investigation into Jerry Sandusky, the allegations should have been reported outside the school. Children who are sexually abused often have psychological issues or are more vulnerable to be victimized in the first place. Law enforcement and children and youth services are better trained to investigate these cases, she said.
Are some not founded? Are some founded? READ: Pa. The girl Puterbaugh sexually assaulted filed a lawsuit in U. The case was abruptly settled on July 11, in the middle of trial. She had testified for hours in explicit detail about the sexual abuse. The girl started to play the flute in fourth grade, in orand then took up private music lessons with Puterbaugh. She was 9 or The inappropriate touching and sexual abuse escalated. Puterbaugh, she said, impregnated her at 13, and she had an abortion in Maryland. The woman, now 29, testified that she tried to kill herself four times.
Eventually, she developed addictions to alcohol, prescription painkillers and heroin. She said she has struggled to maintain relationships. The woman testified that she reported the abuse twice to teachers, in and No one contacted law enforcement or the district attorney on either occasion. The school district provided the following in the memo that it filed in the lawsuit:.
Pass tried to speak with the girl the next day, but she refused to talk and recanted her story, the school district wrote. The guidance counselor passed the information to the principal, Ken Walter. Stock and Leader, at his request, conducted an investigation.
Later, the girl talked to her emotional support teacher at Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12, Grace Wesley. Wesley encouraged her to make a further report. She later spoke with a guidance counselor, Lisa St. DeSanto called the assistant principal, Shane Miller. He met with the girl. She provided a written statement, the district wrote. Wesley also contacted her supervisor, Lynne Spangler, who reported it to Supt. Richard Nilsen. He reached out to Stock and Leader and requested an investigation.
In court documents, Lincoln Intermediate Unit 12 stated that Spangler directly reported the information that the teacher provided her to children and youth services as well. But in a separate filing, the girl's attorney disputes that actually happened. The York County Office of Children, Youth and Families cannot disclose whether a report was made because of confidentially provisions in the law, said Mark Walters, a spokesman for York County.
Meanwhile, DeSanto called the girl's mother about the report. She was adamant there was no inappropriate or intimate relationship, reminding the guidance counselor that "her daughter lies. The girl withdrew from the school district in She took online classes to receive her high school diploma.
During the trial, Farley Holt, the woman's attorney, and his client had a different take on some of how the events transpired. The woman had no recollection of recanting the allegations. Because she made me feel terrible. But Puterbaugh called her that night. He was crying, she testified, and said he might kill himself. George Severns Jr. He retired before the girl first disclosed the abuse, though was there when the four students complained about the touching.
Puterbaugh and some of the students. He said he called students to the gym and told them to go to their teacher, guidance counselor or principal if they felt anything that had been happening was inappropriate.
Severns said he doesn't recall hearing about it again. In a text message, Nilsen noted that he was dismissed as a defendant in the lawsuit. He suggested contacting the school district's attorney, who declined to be interviewed. More: These southcentral Pa. The reports that finally led to criminal charges.
Police started to investigate him in after someone left an anonymous voic at Dover Area Intermediate School. The caller identified a woman by name and said she had had sex with Puterbaugh when she had been a student at Dover. That woman, it turns out, was the same person who had twice reported the abuse when she was a student there.
She was now an adult and sat down for an informal interview with police. The woman was then living in Kentucky. Law enforcement searched his cellphone and other "digital media. Police said they initially identified 30 potential victims. Law enforcement also found more than images of child pornography on his computer. InPuterbaugh pleaded guilty in U. District Court to production of child pornography. He also pleaded guilty in the York County Court of Common Pleas to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and statutory sexual assault for abusing the girl.
Northern York County Regional Police Chief Mark Bentzel said he had no way of knowing whether anything would have been different if the school district had contacted law enforcement earlier. Police provided all of the information they had to the district attorney's office, which vetted it and determined that no charges should be filed against any school employees, Bentzel said. Pennsylvania overhauled the laws for mandated reporters following the fallout from the Penn State sexual abuse scandal.
Now, if teachers have reasonable cause to suspect child abuse, they themselves must immediately make an outside report. If a teacher calls the hotline, he or she has to follow up with a written report in 48 hours. They must tell the person in charge of the school after making the report. Read the Dover Area School District's memo:. Facebook Twitter. Dover sexual assault: School officials 'took the law into their own hands' as abuse continued.Dover student sex
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