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Former teacher pleads guilty to corruption of minors charges

June 04, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

A former Fannett-Metal High School teacher will be going to jail after pleading guilty Wednesday in Franklin County Court to charges that he had sexual contact with three female students.

William Bradley Palm, 24, formerly of Shippensburg, Pa., pleaded guilty before Judge John R. Walker to three charges of corruption of minors, according to court records. The guilty plea requires him to spend time in jail, surrender his teaching certificate and not seek or obtain employment where he would be working with minors, court documents said.

Palm is scheduled for sentencing on July 14. The guilty plea document stated the length of his sentence will be determined by the sentencing judge.

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Each count of corruption of minors, a first-degree misdemeanor, carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison, according to Pennsylvania law.

On March 31, Pennsylvania State Police charged Palm, whose address is now listed as Boiling Springs, Pa., with felony counts of statutory sexual assault and aggravated indecent assault, three counts of corruption and one count of indecent assault.

According to the affidavits of probable cause, the incidents occurred between October and March 15. One girl told police she had sexual contact with Palm after school in a classroom and on another occasion in a car, the affidavit stated.

The other girls said the contact occurred off school property in vehicles, according to police records.

The three victims were ages 17, 16 and 15 at the time the incidents occurred, according to the affidavits. All three had been students of Palm, who taught history and world cultures at the school.

Palm, who was released after his arraignment on $30,000 bond, was dismissed by the school board at an April 12 disciplinary hearing. He had been suspended earlier after one of the students reported him to school officials, Superintendent Dana Baker said in April.

"The acts weren't committed by force or violence," Franklin County District Attorney John F. Nelson said.

The plea agreement dismisses the other felony and misdemeanor counts against Palm.

Nelson said Assistant District Attorney T.R. Williams "discussed the disposition at length with the victims and their families and he also discussed it at length with the school officials."

"The victims agreed to the disposition, in part, to alleviate the need for their testimony," Nelson said.

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