Ad­di­tional charges levied against Abing­ton High teacher

New com­plaint cites ‘sim­i­lar con­duct’ with for­mer stu­dents

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - NEWS - By Linda Finarelli

ABING­TON >> A pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing for an Abing­ton High School teacher ac­cused of hav­ing an in­ap­pro­pri­ate sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with a stu­dent was con­tin­ued Oct. 16 af­ter ad­di­tional charges were levied against him.

Un­der an amended crim­i­nal com­plaint, Thomas Kum­mer, 55, of the 400 block of Krew­son Ter­race, Wil­low Grove, is charged with one count each of sex­ual abuse of chil­dren, cor­rup­tion of mi­nors, two sec­tions of en­dan­ger­ing the wel­fare of chil­dren and 10 counts each of un­law­ful con­tact with a mi­nor and in­sti­tu­tional sex­ual as­sault of a mi­nor. A charge of fur­nish­ing al­co­hol to mi­nors was also added.

The re­vised af­fi­davit of prob­a­ble cause de­tails how po­lice be­gan an in­ves­ti­ga­tion af­ter re­ceiv­ing a re­port Sept. 26 from “a con­cerned cit­i­zen” that Kum­mer, a Latin teacher for more than 20 years at Abing­ton Se­nior High, was in­volved in a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with a stu­dent un­der age 18 at the school.

Kum­mer had been a chap­er­one for a trip to Italy in June in which the stu­dent par­tic­i­pated.

A search of the mi­nor vic­tim’s phone and com­puter showed 290 mes­sages be­tween Kum­mer and the stu­dent, most ro­man­tic in na­ture. In an in­ter­view with po­lice, the girl said she and Kum­mer drank al­co­hol to­gether on the Italy trip and be­gan tex­ting each other daily in July.

The phys­i­cal sex­ual con­tact with Kum­mer oc­curred on at least 10 oc­ca­sions, pri­mar­ily at his Wil­low Grove res­i­dence, where they some­times drank beer to­gether. The vic­tim also re­ported send­ing Kum­mer a photo of her­self in a bra.

When Kum­mer learned Sept. 30 that the po­lice had taken the stu­dent’s phone and lap­top, he asked the vic­tim if the mes­sages be­tween them had been deleted and in­di­cated he was “com­pletely freaked out” and was con­sid­er­ing flee­ing. He had pre­vi­ously told the girl “I al­ways have 2 emer­gency tick­ets to the Caribbean” and said he wanted to be on a plane with her.

Dur­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, po­lice learned Kum­mer had “pre­vi­ously en­gaged in sim­i­lar con­duct” with fe­male stu­dents or for­mer stu­dents at the high school, one in 1999 and one in 2006, the com­plaint says.

Mont­gomery County As­sis­tant Dis­trict At­tor­ney Alexan­dria MacMaster re­quested Dis­trict Judge Juanita Price in­crease Kum­mer’s bail, set pre­vi­ously at $250,000 cash.

Re­fer­ring to the new al­leged vic­tims’ claims, which are out­side the statute of lim­i­ta­tions, and “how in-depth the con­tact was” be­tween Kum­mer and the stu­dent in the cur­rent case, MacMaster said Kum­mer was “a flight risk and dan­ger to the com­mu­nity.”

Kum­mer’s at­tor­ney, Matthew Sedacca, said, “The com­mon­wealth has his pass­port; he’s not go­ing any­where.” Kum­mer’s par­ents posted their house to a bail bonds­man for the $250,000 bail, he said, and “he’s not go­ing to leave his par­ents home­less as a re­sult.”

Kum­mer will be liv­ing with his par­ents in Phoenixville, so he is un­likely to run into the vic­tim by ac­ci­dent, Sedacca added.

Price said she would “leave bail where it is,” and noted con­di­tions of the bail in­clude that he have no con­tact with the vic­tim or any­one un­der age 18 and have no use of a com­puter.

The pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing was con­tin­ued to Oct. 26.

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