Montco teacher charged with touching students

Pictured: William Schellinger

January 12, 2012 8:46:07 PM PST
A Montgomery County middle school teacher has been charged with inappropriately touching a number of former students.

Colonial Middle School teacher William Schellinger, 41, of Gilbertsville, is facing a number of charges including indecent assault and corruption of minors.

Police say the investigation began back in October, 2011 after multiple former students of Colonial Middle School reported the incidents involving Schellinger.

The first victim, now an 18-year-old man, told police Schellinger touched him during tutoring sessions during the 2007-2008 school year. The victim told police it began with Schellinger rubbing his back then progressed to Schellinger touching him under his shirt and under his pants. The victim told police the touching made him uncomfortable and he ended the tutoring sessions.

The second victim, now a 17-year-old boy, said that Schellinger rubbed his back and made him feel uncomfortable during the 2007-2008 school year. The victim also told police Schellinger took a picture of him in the pool without his shirt on and that picture later appear on Schellinger's classroom wall.

The third victim, now an 18-year-old man, said he was touched by Schellinger during the 2006-2007 school year. He said he confided in Schellinger he was worried about a lump on his chest and Schellinger began rubbing his chest and then moved on to his nipples. The student claims he told Schellinger he minded being touched, but Schellinger continued.

That same victim told police that, during the following school year, Schellinger asked him into a school room and closed the door and blinds. The victim said Schellinger grabbed the legs of the chair and began to pull the victim close. The victim said Schellinger then began staring at his crotch and began to touch him under his shirt. The victim said Schellinger then put his hands down his pants asking 'You don't mind, do you?" The victim said he got up and left before anything else happened.

The fourth victim, now an 18-year-old man, told police he was touched during tutoring sessions. The victim said Schellinger rubbed his inner thigh and began to rub his stomach and chest. The victim told police he believed Schellinger was 'aroused' by the actions.

The fifth victim, a 15-year-old, also described to police incidents of touching on his leg, buttocks and thigh by Schellinger during 2009 and 2011 tutoring session. The victim said Schellinger would give him hugs like "the kind boyfriends and girlfriends would hug each other' and would rub his leg.

"When we handle cases where there are multiple victims, there's always a question, 'Are there any other potential victims out there?' and certainly this is a situation that raises that question in my mind," said Risa Ferman.

During the investigation, police say they also uncovered similar incidents while Schellinger as a teacher at Father Judge High School in Philadelphia before he came to Colonial Middle School.

Authorities at Colonial Middle School said Schellinger was suspended on October 7th and no longer has contact with their students. They added that the district is working with investigators - along with their solicitor - and will take 'further action as appropriate.'

In a statement, the district said:

Please be assured that our highest priority is the safety and well-being of our students. We will continue to provide updates as information becomes available to us through the District Attorney's office.

Schellinger was arraigned and posted 10% of $5,000 bail. He was ordered not to have any contact with the victims.