A Pennsylvania middle school counsellor has been accused of being involved in a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old student, media reports said.
The accused was identified as 35-year-old Kelly Ann Schutte.
Schutte was arraigned early Friday on that charge, as well as indecent assault and corruption of minors. She was released on $25,000 unsecured bail, reported The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Investigators first learned of the relationship between Schutte, who works at Pennridge South Middle School, and the teen in July, according to the affidavit of probable cause for Schutte’s arrest, the newspaper reported.
The victim's mother called the police and said her son confessed that he had been in a “romantic and sexual relationship” with Schutte since the fall of 2022.
During an interview with detectives, the teen said he and Schutte began their relationship during a field trip, when they sat next to each other on a school bus. They began exchanging messages on Canvas, a program that school staff use to talk with students, reported the newspaper.
The boy said he started spending time with Schutte in her office at the school which led him to miss classes.
Once the school year ended, the two remained in touch via Snapchat, he said.
Their relationship became physical in June, according to the affidavit, and the two engaged in sex acts in Schutte’s car on the way to a Pennsburg supermarket and in a secluded section of the store’s parking lot. They also had a sexual encounter in the bedroom of the teen’s home in West Rockhill Township while his parents were out of town, reported The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Schutte left one of her earrings behind at the teen’s home, and it was later recovered by investigators, the affidavit said.
The relationship came to light in July when Schutte and the teen were kissing at her home in Pennsburg and a relative walked in, the affidavit said.
A spokesperson for the Pennridge School District told the newspaper Schutte was still employed with the institute.
The district first learned of the allegations against Shutte in July and placed her on administrative leave, and she has been barred from entering any district-owned properties, he said.
“While we refrain from making premature judgments about the actions of the staff member facing prosecution, it is crucial to reiterate the district’s stance against any inappropriate contact between a Pennridge School District employee and a student,” Pennridge Superintendent Angelo Berrios said in a statement as quoted by the newspaper. “Such behaviour will not be tolerated.”