WEST MIFFLIN (KDKA) – The West Mifflin High School employee accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student has surrendered to police.
According to West Mifflin School District solicitor Gary Matta, allegations came about late last week regarding a potential relationship between a student and an employee.
That employee has been identified as 45-year-old James Horgan. He’s taught psychology at the school for 22 years.
Horgan has been charged with institutional sexual assault and turned himself in Tuesday afternoon.
“Obviously, he’s upset. I’m not going to comment on the allegations right now; obviously, they are very serious as we see things that are occurring in schools that should not happen,” said defense attorney Patrick Thomassey.
According to the criminal complaint, the student told police the pair had four alleged encounters in the back of his classroom within the past month. The last one was on March 28. Horgan reportedly confessed to detectives, but his attorney says not so fast.
“That’s to be litigated down the road whether or not he admitted it or not,” said Thomassey.
He adds that more information that police need to know will come out later. He says Horgan has never had any previous complaints and has been a model teacher and family man.
“He’s been a model teacher, if there is such a thing anymore,” said Thomassey. “No problems whatsoever, good family man, three children.”
Horgan was placed on paid administrative leave Friday and will remain on leave until the investigation is concluded.
The school district is working with West Mifflin Police on the investigation.
Matta says the school and police have had discussions with anyone who may have knowledge of the reported relationship, but at this point, no one they’ve spoken with has had any involvement in the situation.
The school can’t comment on the student’s age or if that person is still attending classes at West Mifflin.
Matta says as the investigation develops, they will be making everyone in the district aware of the what’s happening.
Horgan was arraignment Tuesday afternoon on a charge of institutional sexual assault. He was released on non-monetary bond and was told not to have any contact with the victim. He’ll have a preliminary hearing on April 19.