Middle school gym teacher charged with having sex with teen

MEDIA (WPVI) -- A Delaware County middle school physical education teacher is charged with having sex with a 15-year-old girl.

Bill Barber of Glen Mills was a popular teacher and football coach at Garnet Valley Middle School. But state Police say he used that position to sexually assault a former student in his office two weeks ago.

He was arrested Tuesday and charged with Statutory Sexual Assault, Unlawful Contact with Minor, Institutional Sexual Assault, Corruption of Minors and Indecent Assault.

Pennsylvania State Police Cpl. Gerard McShea explains, "She is currently a student at the high school. The two were exchanging messages via Twitter throughout the summer and it escalated into the incident that happened."

According to court records, Barber wrote these messages to the 15-year-old girl in the days leading up to the sexual encounter:

"Wow you are a very sexy young lady."

In another exchange he said:

"You could have been here but it's all good. I shouldn't temp myself anyway."

He followed that up with:

"But your body makes me crazy. Ugh...."

Cpl. McShea says, "We were contacted by the school yesterday when the incident came to light, and our investigation was able to be wrapped up this afternoon."

We first met Barber last week. His 4-year-old daughter is suffering from brain cancer and the family created the Lemon Drop Challenge to help raise money for pediatric cancer - much like the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Barber is on administrative leave pending the legal process. His bail was set at 10 percent of $250,000 and he now sits in the Delaware County Prison.

In a letter to parents, the Garnet Valley School District wrote:

It is with extreme disappointment and great concern that I am writing to inform you that Garnet Valley Middle School Health and Physical Education teacher and Garnet Valley Middle School football coach Bill Barber was arrested today on allegations he had a sexual relationship with a Garnet Valley High School student. The Delaware County District Attorney's Office has been handling the case, which just came to light on Monday, September 22.

The safety, welfare, and health of our students and staff is our utmost concern, and we are acutely aware of how difficult this situation will be for our entire school community. Please be assured Mr. Barber, who was hired by the district in 2002, had passed all child abuse and criminal history clearances.

Students yesterday alerted staff to rumors of an inappropriate relationship between Mr. Barber and a student. Our administrative team immediately investigated the matter and contacted police. Mr. Barber was placed on administrative leave last night and his school keys and access card were confiscated. Our administrative team acted as quickly as we possibly could, and we have been focusing since then on putting plans in place to help our community move forward.

This crisis reaches all levels of our school district. Mr. Barber both works and lives in our community and is very personally connected with our schools. He has a four-year-old daughter who is suffering from cancer, and our community participated in a number of publicized charitable causes on her behalf. We understand that these allegations are extremely troubling and will leave many feeling betrayed.

A team of crisis counselors, therapists, and school counselors, along with administrators and possibly law enforcement officials, will be meeting with staff first thing tomorrow morning. After this, our crisis response team will meet with students by grade level at both the middle and high school to explain the matter give them a chance to ask questions in the presence of trained professionals. In the coming days counselors will be available as we all try to cope with this very troubling news. We will be sending information shortly from our crisis team with suggestions about how to speak with your children about this issue.

As we meet with students in the coming days and weeks, we hope to help them work through their concerns and reassure them that while this very popular, well-liked teacher certainly betrayed the community's trust, there are many adults in their lives who can be trusted and relied upon. It's a difficult thing for anyone to experience, and we are very sorry this crisis has occurred in our community.

We will do our very best to keep you informed as we move forward. Please understand that the criminal investigation is the responsibility of law enforcement, while our focus must be on healing our school community.

Thank you for your support in this very difficult matter.
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