A Delaware County teacher who was arrested last month for allegedly sexually assaulting three of his students turned himself in again on Tuesday after more alleged victims came forward.
Paul E. Hochschwender, 54, of Broomall, was charged last month with inappropriately touching students, corruption of minors and sexual assault after two of his students and one former student came forward. He now faces new charges, including nine counts of institutional sexual assault, 17 counts of indecent assault of a person under 13, and nine counts of corruption of minors, after four more students and another former student came forward.
Hochschwender taught second grade at Darby Township School and also once coached soccer and baseball for youth teams.
Back on March 6, the mother of one of Hochschwender’s students told officials that her daughter was sexually assaulted by the teacher. The 7-year-old girl told police that Hochschwender touched her private parts while she was seated at her desk.
The girl told police that Hochschwender placed her hand on her shoulder before touching her private parts and that he would often pick her up, hold her close and touch her buttocks.
The girl accused the teacher of touching another classmate in a similar fashion. The second alleged victim, another 7-year-old girl, also told police that Hochschwender inappropriately touched her.
Police then interviewed a third alleged victim, a 14-year-old girl, who claimed Hochschwender inappropriately touched her when she was a 5th grade student in his class two years ago. The teen told police she gave a written statement to the school’s principal as well as a list of names of other students who were inappropriately touched by the teacher.
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Five more female students, including four 7-year-old girls and an 18-year-old girl, later came forward, accusing Hochschwender of inappropriately touching them.
One of the 7-year-old girls told police that Hochschwender offered her candy and placed it in her pocket while touching her private areas.
The 18-year-old girl told police that Hochschwender inappropriately touched her several times between 2006 and 2007 when she was a 5th grade student at Darby Township.
“It was kind of a normal thing for him that when you would go up to ask him a question, he would touch your shoulder and grab your hands,” she said. “He would just always grab my hand and I didn’t think anything of it. I just thought that was him. He’s a touchy feely guy who didn’t know what personal space was.”
The teen claimed he grabbed her hand and placed it near his penis during one of the incidents. She says she tried to pull away but he kept his hands there.
According to the teen, Hochschwender would always touch her hands when she talked to him, touch her shoulder and whisper in her ear, saying, ‘hey how are you doing?”
The teen says she then went to the school’s guidance counselor and told her about what happened. According to the criminal complaint, the victim claimed the guidance counselor made her feel guilty about coming forward.
“The guidance counselor made comments about his family and his job and running his career,” police wrote in a criminal complaint.
The teen says the guidance counselor then reported the allegation to the school’s principal and called her mother. Police say she repeated the allegation a second time to the principal and a third time during a meeting with her mother. Each time, the teen says she was made to feel guilty for bringing up the allegation.
“The next day or a few days later they got Mr. Hochschwender involved,” the teen told police. “My mom, Mr. Hochschwender, who was next to me, the principal and the guidance counselor. So they bring him in and he knows the issue and I’m just thinking, ‘why is he here? Why did you bring him here?’”
The teen told police she was so shaken by Hochschwender’s presence that she denied the allegations she previously made against him.
“I know I’m going to deny it because I have him as a teacher in class and I don’t get to change classes,” she said. “I’m in the class all day with him. I’m freaking out inside and the principal is telling me you need to explain to us what happened.”
The teen says she was in a panic however.
“Mr. Hochschwender, he was just kind of dead silent,” she said. “He said a few words but I don’t remember what he said. He had like a smile on his face, like nothing is going to happen, nothing is going to happen to me. My mom explained the issue exactly how I said it to her. Mr. Hochschwender was just shrugging his shoulders. I just completely denied the whole thing. They just kept trying, pushing me on to get the issue out. I denied it. And it was because he was there.”
The teen told police that after the meeting she returned to his class. Hochschwender later approached her and told her if he ever inappropriately touched her again that she should “give him a signal.”
According to officials, the complaints the girl made were never reported to police until last March, several years after.
Hochschwender was released on bail on Tuesday. He was placed on administrative leave at the school after he was first arrested. The District Attorney is currently investigating whether the school district did enough to protect children at the school.
NBC10 spoke to Dorothy Gallagher, the Delaware County School Board President, for comment.
"As the school board president and a mom and a grandma, my heart just breaks for the families and for these children," Gallagher said. "I don't know exactly what to say."