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Sex-with-student cases swamp area schools

Published: Friday, November 24, 2017 @ 1:22 PM

Substitute teacher accused of sex with students appear in court

Four area educators face criminal charges for sexual behavior involving students, two others were recently sentenced for similar crimes, and an investigation of a Franklin school employee was announced Tuesday. It’s an unusually bad run of activity, according to local and state officials.

The cases range from multiple charges of sexual battery for relationships between teachers and teen students, to allegations of pandering obscenity for “producing an obscene performance” involving a minor, and even charges of rape of a child younger than 13.

RELATED: Trial date set for 2 superintendents in rape case

“We’re facing a challenging time right now with the numbers (of cases) that are there,” said Scott Inskeep, superintendent of Kettering Schools. “The piece out of this that I think is essential — please, for the students, for other teachers, for parents or guardians, if you suspect something, let us know. … It may be nothing. But (this time) when it was something, we did exactly what we needed to do.”

The head of one of the largest teachers unions in southwest Ohio said educators must take personal responsibility and draw clear lines in their relationships with students. Dayton teachers union President David Romick urged teachers to be cautious to the point of “standoffishness” with students.

Many local cases

Former Miamisburg Middle School teacher Jessica Langford and Kettering Fairmont High School substitute teacher Madeline Marx are set to appear in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court this week on felony sexual battery charges.

RELATED: Miamisburg teacher indicted on six counts

Langford, 32, worked for Miamisburg schools for nine years, earning good evaluations, but is now accused of sexual conduct with a 14-year-old male student at the school, according to Prosecutor Mat Heck. She is to appear in court Tuesday.

RELATED: Kettering sub teacher pleads not guilty

Marx, 23, was a substitute teacher in Mad River, Kettering and Oakwood schools, where Oakwood Superintendent Kyle Ramey said there were no “red flags” when Marx worked there. Prosecutors now accuse her of sex acts with 16- and 17-year-old male Kettering Fairmont High School students between May and September, court records show. She is due in court Thursday.

Those charges come on the heels of two male educators being convicted in similar cases.

Former Fairfield high school teacher Tyler Conrad, 26, was sentenced to 180 days in jail in July for sexual imposition and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, stemming from sexual activity with a 16-year-old female student in 2016, court records show.

RELATED: Fairfield teacher gets maximum sentence

RELATED: Dayton aide/coach sentenced in sex case

Former Dayton teacher’s aide and coach Donte Murphy, 29, was sentenced to five years’ probation in October. He was found guilty of sexual battery for having sex in 2016 with an 18-year-old Ponitz Career Tech student whom he coached, according to court records. Another Dayton teacher, John Findley of Stivers, has a hearing scheduled Jan. 5 in his felony case of pandering obscenity involving a minor, who was a student at another school, according to court records.

In Logan County, Indian Lake Superintendent Patrick O’Donnell faces charges that include rape over a three-year period of a child under 13 who was not a student in his district. The 52-year-old has pleaded not guilty, and his trial is set for December.

How common is it?

Each year, the Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Professional Conduct reports its number of investigations into criminal sex offenses and “child services sexual abuse” cases that implicate educators.

Combined, those two categories went from 55 investigations in 2014, up to 69 in 2015, then back down to 46 in 2016. Year-to-date numbers are not available for 2017, according to ODE spokeswoman Brittany Halpin, and not all investigations result in findings of wrongdoing.

RELATED: See the 2016 state educator conduct report

Another 150 to 300 investigations per year involved “inappropriate” relationships, behavior, or comments/gestures. But ODE officials said not all of those were of a sexual nature. Halpin said the department’s data is not separated in such a way to show how many of the investigations for “conduct unbecoming the teaching profession” are sex-related.

“You have to look at the big picture of how many licensed educators there are versus how many bad actors,” Halpin said.

The 2016 Office of Professional Conduct report says less than one half of one percent of the state’s 318,000 licensed educators were involved in a 2016 investigation of any kind, including things like academic fraud or falsifying an application, as well as sex-related cases.

Personal responsibility

While sex charges against educators are relatively rare, they are also not new. In 2013, teachers from Wayne and Centerville high schools were each sentenced to five years of probation and required to register as sex offenders for sexual activity with teen students. Cases pop up in media reports all around the country.

Asked whether sexual tension is inevitable when thousands of teachers, many in their 20s, deal with thousands of teenage high school students every day, two local leaders said teachers must take personal responsibility.

2013 CASE: Centerville teacher gets probation in sex case

2013 CASE: Wayne HS teacher sentenced in student sex case

“I have to step outside my own frame of reference, where that absolutely never could be and wasn’t ever even a glint of a thought,” said Romick. “I suppose any time people are put together there are a variety of tensions that are possible. But that relationship between a teacher and a student, I think that rises above any kind of other interpersonal relationships that other people in the world have.”

Inskeep, the Kettering superintendent, said the licensure process and background checks are protections, but are no guarantee of the choices people will make in the future. Still, he said it’s not inevitable that there will be issues.

“I truly feel today that the training and communication that teachers receive when they begin, they understand that there’s a clear line,” he said. “We don’t know what’s in the mind of these individuals, their intentions when they make those choices. I can’t get into their heads. But I really don’t feel it’s inevitable.”

What can be done?

Halpin said Ohio educators are in the state’s “rapback” fingerprint system, which triggers automatic state notification if someone is charged with a crime, so ODE can notify schools quickly. And educators’ licenses can be immediately revoked if they are convicted of an “absolute bar offense,” which includes violent felonies, sex crimes and crimes involving minors, among others.

Romick said Dayton teachers have received training about interacting with students on social media and texting platforms, adding that teacher training colleges, school districts and unions can do more on that front. He said his union sends regular reminders to teachers not to touch students.

“That covers more than (sex), but … don’t innocently hug or put your arm around somebody. Also don’t snatch somebody’s wrist or grab their arm,” Romick said. “I firmly believe that responsibility is with the individual.”

RELATED: Stivers teacher faces felony obscenity charges

David Vail, superintendent of Miamisburg schools, where Langford taught, echoed the “individual responsibility” statement, saying teachers who commit sexual misconduct crimes with students should have more ethics and “common sense.” He also urged everyone to report questionable behavior.

While sexual activity with students crosses a bright line, there is a question of what lesser behavior is questionable. Should a teacher give a teen student a hug, or talk about a relationship when a student asks for support?

Romick urged teachers to make clear that the relationship is professional and instructional, not personal.

Inskeep said social media connections between teachers and students have blurred that area somewhat, but he said teachers still have to know when to stop an interaction or refer a student to a counselor instead.

“When an adult senses that the line is crossed, or is close to being crossed, they have to put up the signal to stop, this is inappropriate, you’ve crossed the line,” he said.

State investigations

The Ohio Department of Education reached final disposition on 1,032 investigations of educators in 2016, on a wide range of academic, financial and criminal allegations. ODE does not have a separate breakdown of all sex-related cases.

46.4 percent: No discipline

25.8 percent: Consent agreement; can include a variety of discipline terms

16.5 percent: Educator’s license revoked or denied

10.9 percent: Letter of admonishment

0.5 percent: License suspended or limited

Teen killed in overnight shooting identified; SWAT standoff ends

Published: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 1:40 AM
Updated: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 10:59 AM

Dayton police and SWAT have surrounded a home in the 1400 block of Tampa Avenue where investigators said a suspect from an overnight shooting is believed to be barricaded inside.

UPDATE @10:30 a.m.

A SWAT standoff related to a fatal shooting where an 18-year-old woman was killed has ended.

Four people were in the home in the 1400 block of Tampa Avenue when police made entry. The shooting suspect was not inside, but one person was arrested on an unrelated traffic incident, police said.

>>Latest Local News

UPDATE @ 8:45 a.m. 

The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office has identified the woman killed in an overnight shooting on Caliph Court as Dontiaunna Brown, 18, of Dayton. 

Brown’s cause of death has not been officially ruled and an autopsy is scheduled for later today. 

Dayton police and SWAT continue to surround a home in the 1400 block of Tampa Avenue where investigators said a suspect is believed to be barricaded inside. 

We’ll update this page as we learn more. 

CRIME: The Christmas Killings: Dayton’s worst crime spree

UPDATE @ 8:20 a.m. 

Police and SWAT have surrounded a home in the 1400 block of Tampa Avenue in Dayton where an overnight shooting suspect is believed to be barricaded inside, according to Dayton police. 

Officers have blocked off the area and are demanding the occupants to exit the house, according to our crew on the scene. 

Police confirmed to our crew the subject of the SWAT callout is connected to the overnight shooting on Caliph Court where an 18-year-old woman was killed. 

We’ll update this page as we learn more. 

UPDATE @ 3:05 a.m. 

An 18-year-old woman was shot and killed inside an apartment on Caliph Court early Saturday morning, according to Dayton police. 

TRENDING: Passenger takes off in car, crashes as driver takes sobriety tests

The woman was found suffering from a gunshot wound to her neck around 1:25 a.m. and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Dayton police Sgt. Theodore Trupp. 

Trupp said it was too early in their investigation to determine what led to the shooting and police do not have any suspects.

Additional details about the investigation were not available. 

The identity of the woman has not been released, pending notification of family. 

FIRST REPORT

Police and medics have responded to a report of a person shot on Caliph Court in Dayton early Saturday morning.

Emergency crews responded to the 5000 block of Caliph Court around 1:25 a.m. after the incident was reported. 

Officers are reportedly looking in the area for at least one suspect and have requested a K9 officer to the scene, according to initial reports. 

The condition of the victim was not immediately known. 

We have a crew on the way and we’ll update this page as we learn more. 

Boil advisory remains in effect after water main break

Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 7:44 PM
Updated: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 11:10 AM

Miamisburg water main break

UPDATE @11 a.m. 12/15/17

A boil advisory in effect for Miamisburg remsins in effect.

Those under the advisory will receive a second door hanger notice when the boil advisory expires.

>> Local news from the Miami Valley

UPDATE @ 7:51 p.m.: The break has been repaired and service should be restored shortly, city PIO Gary Giles said.

INITIAL REPORT

A water main break on North Heincke Road, near Mary Francis Court, in Miamisburg has caused more than 200 homes and apartments to lose water service, city Public Information Office Gary Giles said. 

In a statement release minutes ago, those in affected residences will get a door hanger notice advising of a boil water advisory, which will be in effect at least 24 hours. Repair crews are on site. 

OTHER LOCAL NEWS: Changes at Dayton International Airport this year

A second door hanger notice will be delivered when the advisory expires. 

Heincke Road has not been closed to traffic, Giles said. 

We'll update this developing report as information becomes available. 

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com.

Report: Toronto billionaire, wife found dead at their home

Published: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 1:19 AM

Toronto Billionaire and his Wife Found Dead at Their Mansion

Toronto billionaire and philanthropist Barry Sherman and his wife were found dead in their mansion Friday afternoon, CTV reported Saturday.

>> Read more trending news

The Toronto Police Service is investigating the deaths as "suspicious."

During a news conference Friday, Constable David Hopkinson would not identify the two bodies. Hopkinson said police, fire units and ambulance responded to a "medical complaint" just before noon on Friday.

"The circumstances of their death appear suspicious and we are treating it that way," Hopkinson said. "Our investigators are inside investigating and taking apart the scene."

Ontario's health minister, Dr. Eric Hoskins, said the couple had been discovered dead.

“I am beyond words right now,” Hoskins tweeted. “My dear friends Barry and Honey Sherman have been found dead. Wonderful human beings, incredible philanthropists, great leaders in healthcare. A very, very sad day. Barry, Honey, rest in peace.”

Minister of Economic Development Brad Duguid also took to Twitter to express his condolences. "Deeply shocked & saddened to hear of the deaths of Barry & Honey Sherman. Philanthropists and entrepreneurs who made our province a better place to live."
Sherman founded Toronto-based Apotex Inc. in 1974 with two employees, transforming into the largest Canadian-owned pharmaceutical company, CTV reported.

His fortune was recently estimated to be $4.77 billion by Canadian Business magazine, making him the 15th richest person in Canada.

Apotex employs more than 10,000 people in research, development, manufacturing and distribution facilities worldwide, with more than 6,000 employees at its Canadian operations, CTV reported.

Sherman's wife, Honey, was a member of the board of the Baycrest Foundation and the York University Foundation. She also served on the boards of Mount Sinai's Women's Auxiliary, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the International American Joint Distribution Committee.

Apotex called news of the deaths "tragic."

“All of us at Apotex are deeply shocked and saddened by this news and our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time," the company said in a statement.

Pit bull pup debuts as police dog in Kansas

Published: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 11:04 AM

Red nose pit bull.
Ramin Talaie/Getty Images
Red nose pit bull.(Ramin Talaie/Getty Images)

A police department in Kansas has employed the state’s first pit bull police dog, The Wichita Eagle reported.

>> Read more trending news

The Stafford Police Department added Kano, a 55-pound red nose pit bull that has one blue eye and one brown eye. The puppy was named after a character from the game “Mortal Kombat” because of his unique eye color and patches, the Stafford Police Department wrote in a Facebook post.

The dog is trained in locating marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and ecstasy. Kano’s handler – Officer Mason Paden – said he knows that some may be a little apprehensive of a pit bull on the police force.

“I have always been ‘pro-Pit Bull’ these dogs are misunderstood. ... Just like people dogs are individuals too!” he posted on Facebook. “Kano and I plan to get out there and help try to change the bad name that so many have given the Pit Bull.”

“Anyone who watches him work can and will see the drive this dog has, not only that but how incredible these dogs are,” the department wrote.

Universal K-9 operations director Brad Croft told the Hutchinson News that they look for pit bulls between 1 year and 32 months old so departments can get a longer career out of the dog.

This is Kano. Kano is a full blood Red Nose Pitbull. I believe Kano is the FIRST Pit Bull K9 in the state of Kansas. ...

Posted by Stafford Police Department on Saturday, November 4, 2017