In some American public schools, teachers have been allowed to remain in classrooms when many, possibly hundreds, have been dismissed for being the subject of sexual misconduct claims. Despite a string of high-profile harassment cases in recent years, accusations of sexual misconduct against the nation’s teachers are still largely lacking in formal complaints.
The implications of these situations reach well beyond the professional relationships between educators and students. As one Columbia University study reported, over the course of two decades, lawsuits were brought against fewer than 100 New York City teachers charged with sexually abusing a student.
Below, we’ve pulled together the latest information we’ve had about teachers accused of sexual misconduct and the jurisdiction of the legal charges brought against them. We’ve included the relevant Pennsylvania law authorities involved in investigations into allegations that teachers violated student sex laws. And we’ve analyzed the claims, age ranges and career paths of the teachers facing criminal charges.
In total, the school district has confirmed four cases have been investigated by its police department. There are so far no formal charges filed against any of the teachers, although five remain on suspension and face potential disciplinary action, according to a spokesman for the board of education.
The status of students in the case: The district has released documents showing how its police department began investigating allegations of sexual misconduct against three teachers, following a community outcry earlier this year.
Kimberly Burke, a 41-year-old English teacher at Northwestern Middle School, was charged with multiple counts of corruption of minors for alleged sexually explicit text messages she sent to a student under the age of 17 and with sending obscene material to a minor.
Luke Rainwater, a 29-year-old teaching assistant, is charged with sexually assaulting a male student. Police say Rainwater and another teacher sent the 14-year-old boy naked pictures and videos of themselves. The charges against Rainwater accuse him of engaging in oral sex with the boy.
Brenda Fischer, a 40-year-old teacher’s aide, is charged with transmitting obscene material to a minor and attempting to incite indecent conduct with a minor. Police say Fischer sent sexually explicit videos to the same 14-year-old boy.