Abing­ton teacher ac­cused of re­la­tion­ship with stu­dent waives charges.

Judge re­fuses to al­low any com­puter or in­ter­net use

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - FRONT PAGE - By Linda Finarelli

Thomas Kum­mer, a teacher at Abing­ton Se­nior High School ac­cused of hav­ing an in­ap­pro­pri­ate sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with a stu­dent, waived his pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing Oct. 26.

Kum­mer, 55, of the 400 block of Krew­son Ter­race, Wil­low Grove, waived the charges against him to county court be­fore Dis­trict Judge Juanita Price. In ex­change, a charge of sex­ual abuse of chil­dren was with­drawn.

Charges re­main­ing in­clude 10 counts each of un­law­ful con­tact with a mi­nor and in­sti­tu­tional sex­ual as­sault of a mi­nor, two counts of en­dan­ger­ing the wel­fare of chil­dren and one count each of cor­rup­tion of mi­nors and fur­nish­ing al­co­hol to mi­nors.

A Latin teacher at Abing­ton Se­nior High for more than 20 years, Kum­mer be­gan a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship with a fe­male stu­dent un­der 18 af­ter chap­er­on­ing a trip to Italy in which the stu­dent par­tic­i­pated, ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit.

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 com­plaint says.

The phys­i­cal sex­ual con­tact with Kum­mer oc­curred on at least 10 oc­ca­sions, pri­mar­ily at his Wil­low Grove res­i­dence, where the two some­times drank beer to­gether, it says.

When Kum­mer found out the po­lice had taken the stu­dent’s phone and lap­top, he asked her if the mes­sages be­tween them had been deleted and in­di­cated he was con­sid­er­ing flee­ing, the com­plaint says. 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 two fe­male stu­dents or for­mer stu­dents at the high school, one in 1999 and one in 2006, the com­plaint says.

At the hear­ing, Marc Neff, the at­tor­ney for Kum­mer, who is out on a $250,000 bail bond, asked the judge to amend a con­di­tion of the bail that he have no ac­cess to a com­puter and use of the in­ter­net.

The man­date is in­cluded in a con­di­tion that Kum­mer have to con­tact with the vic­tim or any­one un­der the age of 18.

Not­ing his “client is com­puter savvy” and does on­line bank­ing and pays bills on­line, Neff said he was ask­ing only that Kum­mer be per­mit­ted to ac­cess a com­puter and the in­ter­net for fi­nan­cial deal­ings, with the other parts of the con­di­tion re­main­ing the same.

“I will leave it [the con­di­tion] where it is,” Price said. “It’s so easy to slide down the slope to use it where it can’t to­tally be traced.

“There’s al­ways the old­fash­ioned way,” she said of bank­ing and bill pay­ing. “I want to as­sure the safety of the vic­tim.”

For­mal ar­raign­ment is sched­uled for Dec. 12 in county court.

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