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Two charges dropped in Pa. teacher assault case

July 22, 2003|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Felony charges against a Faust Junior High School teacher were dismissed Tuesday at District Justice Gary Carter's office, but Tab Kurtz still faces misdemeanor charges of indecent assault and corruption of a minor in connection with alleged misconduct with a 16-year-old student.

Kurtz, 45, of 404 Landis Road, Hagerstown, waived his preliminary hearing before Carter, but Franklin County Assistant District Attorney David Rahauser agreed to dismiss charges of aggravated indecent assault and criminal attempt to commit aggravated indecent assault.

Both are second-degree felonies carrying maximum sentences of 10 years in prison, according to Carter.

Kurtz will be the subject of a dismissal hearing this evening at a special meeting of the Chambersburg School Board, according to Lynn Lerew, the district's director of human resources. The technology education teacher's status with the district will be considered during a closed-door session, he said.

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Rahauser declined to comment on why the felony charges were dropped saying, "I just don't think it's appropriate at this time."

Kurtz's attorney, Bruce J. Warshawsky of Harrisburg, Pa., also refused to comment.

Carter ordered Kurtz to appear in county court for mandatory arraignment on the indecent assault and corruption charges on Sept. 3.

The corruption charge is a first-degree misdemeanor and conviction on the charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, according to the affidavit of probable cause filed by Chambersburg police on June 6. The indecent assault charge is a second-degree misdemeanor. A conviction carries a maximum two-year sentence.

The student told school officials and police on April 24 that she had been the victim of "ongoing" sexual assault during the 2002-03 school year, according to the affidavit. She alleged that most of the alleged behavior had occurred in Kurtz's class, where she spent most of her activities periods.

The affidavit alleged that the student was touched inappropriately and that Kurtz also had physical contact with the girl on several occasions. She also allegedly was given a jar of cream labeled "nymph Niagara," which she turned over to school officials.

The affidavit stated Kurtz denied having physical contact with the student or giving her the jar of cream. Police allege he told them he took it to school. He described the alleged comments he made as "joking banter," according to the affidavit.

At the time the charges were filed, Lerew said the district had conducted its own investigation of the allegations and had suspended Kurtz with pay pending the outcome of the disciplinary procedure.

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