PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – An elementary school teacher accused of sexually abusing a little girl appeared in court Thursday.
Walter Street shuffling in shackles and handcuffed is a far cry from the Avonworth School District teacher he’s been for 25 years. He is now facing charges of sexual assault of a child, as well as rape and incest.
The victim, a girl who is a relative, told police the abuse began at age 10.
“They are distasteful certainly. They are terrible allegations,” says Street’s defense attorney, Michael Santicola.
He says that the charges against his client are vague and five years old.
Street, 59, of Ohio Township, was re-assigned as a music teacher to the elementary school in 2009.
That’s also the year that Street’s alleged victim – then 17 – first accused him, but then recanted. No charges were filed.
“There’s been one story. Then there’s been another story. Then there’s been yet another story. Then, we have a fourth story today on what we’re here for,” said Santicola.
Street ignored a reporter who asked: “Do you have anything to say to those parents who are so upset?”
On Monday, the Avonworth School Board faced some very angry parents who felt that Street was often overly-familiar with their kids at school.
“There was a sexual predator holding our daughter on his lap; getting some kind of sick joy from that,” said Cathy Burnheimer, a parent.
“He understands how parents would react; we get that,” says Santicola.
But he also contends that no charges relate to Street’s job with the school district.
“They’re not related to anything at the school, and even discussing it with the police, there have been no allegations of improper conduct at the school,” he added.
Street remains on administrative leave and is not allowed on school grounds.
The judge also instructed that he have no contact with the alleged victim, or anyone under the age of 18. He has no previous criminal record.
“I think he’s a good candidate for bail. I don’t think he’s a danger to anyone, including himself,” says his attorney.
Street’s bond was slashed from $200,000 to $100,000 straight. His attorney wanted it lower than that, but he does say they’re going to try to get Street out of jail.