Pa. school squash coach faces sex allegation

NORRISTOWN, Pa. - July 27, 2011

50-year-old James Civello was the squash coach at the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, Montgomery County.

He was fired in early July when a 16-year-old student at the school told her parents that she and Civello had engaged in an ongoing sexual relationship.

"The nature of this kind of act is one where an adult in position of authority is taking advantage of a teenager, of a child, and that is why crimes like this are so serious," Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said.

The girl and her parents went to Lower Merion police who arrested Civello. However, it took them a few days to track him down because, according to investigators, the former squash coach had left town.

"Certainly one could conclude that the reason he left town was that he knew that this had come out and he was looking to get away," Ferman said.

The teenager told police that beginning in April, she and Civello had sex on numerous occasions, including once at the Haverford train station, other times at her Lower Merion home and at the Bryn Mawr Guest Suites on Morton Road where Civello rented a room.

"I think what's significant is the fact that this was really a very brazen kind of relationship. It was ongoing, it was taking place multiple locations around the community and in some ways, you could say it was without a regard for the fact that it could be detected relatively easily," Ferman said.

Action News tried to speak with officials at the Shipley School. They would only say that Civello was no longer employed at the school as of July 3rd.

The Upper Black Eddy resident had worked at the school since 2009.

Action News went to Civello's home, but no one answered the door.

Civello faces up to 5 years behind bars on each count but the DA in Montgomery County admits he likely won't serve anywhere near that time.

That's why she and other DA's across the state are pushing for stiffer laws for teachers who have consensual sex with their students.

Civello is currently behind bars on $100,000 bail and will be arraigned on Wednesday.

He now faces one count each of corruption of a minor and endangering the welfare of children.

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