WILKES-BARRE -- A former teacher in the Wilkes-Barre Area School District now faces a corruption of minors charge. That makes two teachers charged within a week. Both are former employees of the district, and both worked at the same school.
In recent weeks, there have also been similar cases in other districts in Luzerne County.
Court papers show Brian Hampel of Sweet Valley bought alcohol for student drinking parties and was seen kissing and fondling a teenage girl. The allegations date back to 2004.
The school district superintendent told Newswatch 16: “An internal investigation initiated by the Wilkes-Barre Area School District in communication with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Child Line, and the District Attorney's Office resulted in the termination of Brian Hampel.”
“(We) send our children to school for safety, and there's no safety any more. You have to worry about them,” said one concerned woman picking up her daughter from Coughlin.
Hampel is not alone. Just last week, another former Coughlin teacher, Robert Havard, was arrested and charged with attending student drinking parties and having a sexual relationship with a student. Those allegations date back to 2008.
“You may see a lot of arrests taking place around the county, and that's because people are coming forward and providing information,” said Stefanie Salavantis, the Luzerne County District Attorney.
She points out there are more ways than ever for people to come forward with information, and more people are doing so, leading to more arrests. She asks anyone with knowledge of an incident that could be criminal to contact police.
“Any little piece can be important to an investigation,” she said.
Hampel’s preliminary hearing for his corruption of minors charge is set for later this month.