According to a July 27, 2016 press release issued by the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, a middle school teacher at Springfield Township Middle School was arrested and charged with various acts of sexual assault of two teenage girls, ages 14 and 15. Jason Gattuso, of Chalfont, Bucks County, is accused of sexually assaulting two girls who are high school students and is now facing nearly 100 counts. According to the release, the teacher met the girls as students at the middle school and waited until they were in high school before he began the abuse. Gattuso taught social studies at the middle school in Springfield, Montgomery County.
At least one online news report indicates that the teacher began inappropriate contact via texts and escalated the behavior into sexual contact. Gattuso is accused of having sex with the students at different locations including parking lots. See philly.com, Montco middle-school teacher charged with sexually assaulting teens.
Charges for Sexual Abuse of the Students
Gattuso faces the following charges (relevant portions of the more serious offenses follow):
- Statutory Sexual Assault: (Defendant is 11 years older than the victim)
A person commits a felony of the first degree when that person engages in sexual intercourse with a complainant under the age of 16 years and that person is 11 or more years older than the complainant and the complainant and the person are not married to each other.
- Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse (Victim is less than 16 years of age)
A person commits a felony of the first degree when the person engages in deviate sexual intercourse with a complainant who is less than 16 years of age and the person is four or more years older than the complainant and the complainant and person are not married to each other.
- School-Intercourse/Sexual Contact with Student
Except as provided in sections 3121, 3122.1, 3123, 3124.1 and 3125, a person who is a volunteer or an employee of a school or any other person who has direct contact with a student at a school commits a felony of the third degree when he engages in sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse or indecent contact with a student of the school.
- Aggravated Indecent Assault (Victim is less than 16 years of age)
- Indecent Assault Person Less 16 Yrs Age
- Endangering Welfare of Children – Parent/Guardian/Other Commits Offense
- Corruption Of Minors – Defendant Age 18 or Above
- Unlawful Contact With Minor – Sexual Offenses
- Criminal Solicitation – Child Pornography
Schools & the Problem of Sex Abuse by Teachers in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania seems to have a serious problem on its hands. Over the last 5 years, there have been literally dozens of cases involving teachers who were arrested and charged with sexually abusing a student. Many of those teachers were ultimately convicted. If true, this recent case highlights the extent of the problem and underscores that the problem isn’t going anywhere. Get more information about teacher/school sex abuse law in Pennsylvania.
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