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February 24, 2015

Lawsuit claims Delco schools covered up child abuses

Alleges district knew of previous allegations but didn't report them to authorities

Crime and Courts Education
02242015_darby_township_school_GM Google/StreetView

Darby Township School in Glenolden, Delaware County.

Claiming that the school district knew but didn’t act to protect their kids from being sexually abused by a teacher who had done it before, two families of 8-year-old victims are suing the Southeast Delco School District in federal court.

Paul Hochschwender, 55, a father of two, did not contest charges he abused some of his female students when he taught at Darby Township School.

“This kind of inappropriate conduct betrays the trust that families place in teachers and school officials for the well-being of their children,” said Gerald J. Williams, an attorney for the families in a statement. “No lawsuit can completely undo the harm it does to kids, but it can shine a light on what happened here, and maybe keep it from happening to other children.”

Hochschwender was accused of touching girls’ chests and genital areas.

The complaint argues that similar allegations were made against the teacher between 1993 and 2000 while he worked at the school district, according to Williams. More allegations surfaced a few years ago but the district never forwarded those allegations to state investigators, the lawsuit claims, allegedly in violation of state law.

A request to the school district for comment on the matter was not immediately returned.

Hochschwender is in prison awaiting sentencing in April. According to the Delco Times, Hochschwender faces between one and two years in county prison.