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Chambersburg responds to teacher's arrest - abc27 WHTM

Chambersburg responds to teacher's arrest

Posted: Updated:
CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

Updated to correct that Schmutzler has not been released from jail, but remains in the Dauphin County Prison on $60,000 bond.

Parents of students in the Chambersburg Area School District have expressed concern that the district did not inform them of the arrest of Jeffrey Schmutzler, a Spanish teacher at the high school accused of sexually exploiting children.

Many learned of the charges from abc27 news.

Superintendent Dr. Joseph Padasak says the district was informed of Schmutzler's arrest via fax from the Attorney General's Office around noon on Thursday. However, they did not receive any additional information.

"They gave us no details," said Dr. Padasak.

Padasak also said names of any alleged victims have also not been released. The district is working to keep parents better informed and are now posting information on their website (http://www.chambersburg.k12.pa.us/education/components/whatsnew/default.php?sectiondetailid=27917&viewType=detail&id=3155)

This message was posted on the site today.

"The district has no additional information at this time, but will continue to work cooperatively with state and federal investigators ... Student safety is and will always be our primary concern. It is critical that students continue to feel school is a safe place full of adults they can trust. Administrators, counselors and additional staff were present in the high school today to reassure students and employees and to address any and all concerns over this matter."

The school said any student or parent who has a concern regarding this issue, should call Principal Buddy Chapel at 717-261-3329. If you have information you believe may be relevant to this investigation please contact the Chambersburg Area School District Police Chief Paul Weachter at 377-6773.

Schmutzler is accused of taking photos of his students and using computer software to superimpose their faces onto child pornography.

Carlisle Attorney Jason Kutulakis works with the group ChildFirst PA, which fights child abuse and protects children's rights.

"You send your children off to school with anticipation that they will be in a safe environment and here you have the betrayal of that trust," said Kutulakis.

Kutulakis he says although the charges against Schmutzler do not include physical abuse it doesn't lessen the pain, especially if the images are on the Internet.

"I don't know of any mechanism whatsoever to recall or delete these images. Unfortunately, they will be in cyber space forever and its tragic. For the duration of life these images will be out there. Hopefully if these allegations are true the punishment is swift and severe," said Kutulakis.

Schmutzler has been a teacher in the district since 2005. He worked at Northern Middle School first and then moved to the high school.

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