PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — As Plum Police continue their investigation into charges that a second teacher at the Plum Senior High School may have had an inappropriate relationship with a student, the Plum School District on Thursday sent letters home to parents, describing this as a “challenging time.”
On Wednesday, 38-year-old Jason Cooper, a chemistry teacher at the high school, was charged with institutional sexual assault, corruption of a minor and providing alcohol to a minor in connection with his alleged relationship with an 18-year-old female student.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Weather: Cool Conditions Continue
Cooper is now out of jail on bail.
KDKA’s Ralph Iannotti Reports:
The criminal complaint says a teacher at the high school overheard a student talking about tweets between Cooper and a high school senior.
When police questioned the girl, she says she began having conversations with Cooper in late November, early December, during school hours. She says those conversations lead to phone conversations after school hours, and on Twitter.
The complaint says she visited Cooper at his home in Plum Borough right before Christmas where Cooper gave her alcohol and she spent the night. She says they kissed a few times, once in his classroom when no one else was around, and admitted to having sex with Cooper at his home.
“If Mr. Cooper and this girl did have a sexual relationship after she turned 18-years-old, as immoral as people may judge and feel, it’s not an illegal relationship,” Cooper’s attorney, Michael DeRiso, said.
Cooper is charged with institutional sexual assault, corruption of minors and furnishing alcohol to minors.READ MORE: Millennials Paying More Attention To Life Planning As COVID-19 Pandemic Causes Wake-Up Call
“Outside of the fact she’s an 18-year-old student and he happened to be a teacher in the school, at the time this happened he was not her teacher. But he was a teacher in that school and that’s what outrages people,” Cooper said.
KDKA’s Amy Wadas Reports:
Plum Senior High School and police are investigating a second possible case involving a teacher and a female student. This information came out during Cooper’s investigation. The school posted a letter on the district’s website today addressing the situation. Both teachers have been removed from the school.
In Plum on Thursday night, parent Lisa Asti, who has four children in school, called the situation very sad.
Another Plum resident, Ed Ross, said, “These teachers that do these things should be put away. They are there to teach kids.”
“I never saw this coming; I think it’s inappropriate and gross,” Lauren Ratkiewicz said.
Cooper’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for next Wednesday, Feb. 18 at 9 a.m.MORE NEWS: Gas Prices Potentially On The Rise In Pittsburgh Area Following Cyber Attack On U.S. Pipeline