An Abington Township teacher was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a student.
Thomas Kummer, a Latin teacher at Abington Senior High School, was charged Sunday with corruption of a minor, sexual assault of a minor, unlawful contact with a minor and other related offenses.
Investigators say Kummer began a sexual relationship with one of his students during a class trip to Italy over the summer in which he served as a chaperone.
Police were tipped off about a possible relationship between Kummer and the student last week. They then notified the girl's mother and examined the girl's computer, according to officials.
Police say they found at least 290 messages between Kummer and the girl.
"You need to delete everything," Kummer allegedly texted the girl.
"I've fallen in love with you," Kummer allegedly told the girl in another message.
Police also charged Kummer with various drug-related offenses after finding marijuana in his home during a search Sunday night, investigators said.
During a court appearance, Kummer asked the judge to lower his bail, telling her he is the caretaker for his cancer-stricken father and that he was worried about his college-aged daughter.
The judge denied Kummer's request for lowered bail however, saying that she considered him a flight risk due to a message he allegedly sent to the student stating that he was thinking of running away.
Kummer also told the judge he had been a teacher in the Abington School District for 23 years and hadn't had any problems.
In March of 2000 however, he was charged with terroristic threats, simple assault as well as a summary offense of harassment. According to a criminal docket however, Kummer successfully completed the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) program and was never convicted of any of those offenses.
A spokesperson for the Abington School District told NBC10 that under state law in 2000, Kummer was not required to report those types of criminal offenses and the district had no knowledge of it.
The spokesperson said the district learned about the initial charges against Kummer in November of 2015, about a decade and a half later.
“In the absence of a reasonable belief that an employee was arrested or convicted for an offense required to be reported under the School Code, the District had no right to compel its employees to allow the District to obtain updated background checks,” the spokesperson wrote.
“State law in 2015 did not provide any basis for the District to terminate the employee based on charges for which Mr. Kummer was not convicted.”
Abington School District Assistant Superintendent Jefferey Fecher announced the charges in a letter to parents. Fecher said school district officials are cooperating with Abington Township Police and Kummer was suspended from his teaching position.
Parents with any information on Kummer are asked to contact Detective Cindy Pettinato at 267-536-1098.