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Lower Dauphin teacher charged with indecent assault of student; he's since resigned

By Jason Maddux

jasonmaddux@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 9/27/18

A Hummelstown man was charged Wednesday with indecent assault involving a student from his time as a teacher in the Lower Dauphin School District.

John Butler, 34, was arraigned by Magisterial …

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Lower Dauphin teacher charged with indecent assault of student; he's since resigned

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A Hummelstown man was charged Wednesday with indecent assault involving a student from his time as a teacher in the Lower Dauphin School District.

John Butler, 34, was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Lowell Witmer. He taught social studies and formerly was the head cross country coach and an assistant track coach at Lower Dauphin High School.

The district contacted the Hummelstown Police Department on Nov. 15, 2017, in reference to a possible crime in April 2017, involving Butler, who was then a teacher, and a student.  An investigation was initiated and the Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office was consulted.

Lower Dauphin School District was made aware of allegations against Butler in early November 2017, according to a press release from the district.

“Due to the nature of the allegations, he was placed on administrative leave at that time,” the statement said.

Police met with the student on Nov. 17, 2017, according to the criminal complaint.

In December 2016, the student had just returned to school after dealing with personal issues. She told police she remembers Butler coming to one of her classes and pulling her into the hall, stating that if she ever needed anything he was there to talk.

From that point on, the student said, she began to go to Butler frequently if she were upset or angry and talked to him to try and calm down for the next several months.

The student said in April 2017 she began to fight with her boyfriend and went to Butler.

The student said Butler shut his door, which he never did before, and gave her a hug and a kiss on the cheek, according to the criminal complaint.

The student did not think much of the kiss other than it was more than the normal hug they would exchange, the complaint states.

The student told police that Butler made a comment after the kiss to not tell her boyfriend or the boyfriend would be mad. The student said that while it was strange, she blew it off, thinking it was nothing more than making her feel better, the complaint states.

The next week, however, when she was in his room again crying, Butler told her she was “too pretty for this” and “you don’t deserve it,” according to the complaint.

Butler then allegedly told the student, “I have something to tell you but once I say it I won’t be able to take it back.” The student then told Butler he can trust her, so just say it.

Butler again said he can’t take it back but got out of his chair and helped the student to her feet by grabbing both her arms, according to the criminal complaint, and then pushed her up against a wall and kissed her on the lips.

The student said she remembers pulling her head back and saying, “Whoa … not OK.”

The criminal complaint states he pulled away and began to shake, saying, “I’m sorry, that could ruin my life.” The student responded, “It’s OK,” not knowing what to say, according to the complaint.

The student said that after that incident she avoided going to his class. After a few weeks, things calmed down and she began to talk to him again but now he would flirt, according to the criminal complaint, and would make comments about her body.

In the summer of 2017 they began exchanging messages on Twitter.

The Hummelstown Sun reported that he told her “I love you” and “I want to rip your clothes off.”

Butler resigned Nov. 27, 2017. He was hired as a social studies teacher at Lower Dauphin High School at the start of the 2009-10 school year.

He faces a formal arraignment on Dec. 7 before Dauphin County Court Judge William Tully. He is being represented by Brian Perry of Perry Shore Weisenberger & Zemlock, Harrisburg.

He is free on $10,000 unsecured bail.

Earlier this year, State Police alleged another Lower Dauphin School District teacher had inappropriate contact with five female students ages 11 and younger and now faces multiple charges.

James William Mentzer, 39, of Hummelstown, was charged Thursday with institutional sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor, indecent assault, and corruption of minors (five counts) as the result of an in-depth child abuse investigation that began Feb. 16 at East Hanover Elementary School, East Hanover Township.

An investigation revealed Mentzer had inappropriate contact with five female students — ages 8, 9, and three 11-year-olds — beginning in August 2017 at the school.

He had been a teacher in Lower Dauphin full time since 2003.

Last year, a Lower Dauphin High School English teacher had inappropriate contact with a person younger than 18, according to police.

That person was not a Lower Dauphin student, however.

According to FOX43, James Kalos of Mechanicsburg sent the child explicit sexual photographs, and Kalos and another man solicited photos of the child depicted in a prohibited sexual act.

Multiple charges were dismissed, but Kalos pleaded no contest to criminal use of a communication facility, a felony, and misdemeanor charges of endangering welfare of children and two counts of corruption of minors.

He will be sentenced in Cumberland County Court on Nov. 20.