Abington teacher accused of relationship with student waives charges.
Judge refuses to allow any computer or internet use
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 In exchange, a charge of sexual abuse of children was withdrawn.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.