Hunting Park teacher accused of sexually assaulting student

Police say the sexual assault happened in December 2021 on Kelly Drive.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A former Philadelphia teacher is accused of engaging in inappropriate sexual contact with a student.

Barbara Corbo, 30, who worked as an English and social studies teacher at Mercy Career and Technical High School in Hunting Park, is being charged with sexual assault, contact with a minor and other offenses.

Police say it happened in December of 2021 on Kelly Drive. She was arrested on Wednesday.

Parents say administrators at the school notified them of the incident.

"If it was my child I would want to see her fired. In jail? I am not really sure. I am kind of a person that looks at the bigger picture of things," said parent Tina Brown of Southwest Philadelphia.



"It really came close to home and I always talk to my grandchildren and tell them about to speak up and tell. Let them know what's appropriate and inappropriate," said parent, Vendetta Sample of West Philly.

Mercy Career and Technical High School says officials were notified on January 18, and Corbo was immediately fired on the same day.

Mercy High School says Corbo was hired in August of 2021 and submitted clear criminal background checks and child abuse clearances.

Action News went by her home but she was not there and her parents didn't want to talk on camera.

Mercy Career and Technical High School released this statement after Corbo's arrest:

"Members of the Mercy Career & Technical High School Community: Regretfully, we write to share the difficult news that an English/Social Studies teacher at our school was arrested earlier today on criminal charges for engaging in inappropriate sexual contact with a student. The reported conduct constitutes a gross violation of the ethical and moral responsibilities and commitments of an educator and is a violation of school policy.

We learned about this matter on Tuesday, January 18th, when a student reported to the school that Ms. Barbara Corbo engaged in inappropriate sexual contact with the student at a location outside of school. On the same day, we immediately terminated her employment, restricted her ability to communicate with students, and reported the conduct to local law enforcement and child protective services.

Ms. Corbo was hired by Mercy Career & Technical High School in August 2021. As part of that process, she submitted clear criminal background checks, child abuse clearances, professional references, and a copy of her Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Professional Certificate. These careful screening practices are standard for all hires.

This academic year, she taught three sections of English for eleventh graders and two sections of

Social Studies for tenth graders. We have made arrangements to cover those courses for the remainder of the year.

Under Pennsylvania state law and our rigorous child protection policies, we reported the conduct to the Philadelphia Police Department, the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (ChildLine), and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. We have also reported the conduct to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's Office of Investigations.

We have shared available information with law enforcement. We were requested to delay the timing of this important letter to our community until after the anticipated arrest so that it would not interfere with the integrity of the law enforcement investigation.

We encourage anyone with relevant information about this matter to contact Detective Joseph Jenkins, Special Victims Unit (215-685-3264, joseph.jenkins@phila.gov), and anyone
with concerns about suspected abuse of a minor to contact ChildLine (800-932-0313 or through the website).

Our primary concern is for the student who courageously came forward and we will provide any emotional and academic support the student may need. As you speak with your children about this matter, please encourage them to support the privacy of the student involved, to refrain from conjecture or speculation, and to demonstrate compassion and empathy.

As a Catholic school in the Mercy tradition, the welfare of all the young people entrusted in our care remains our focus. We will employ our own school counseling staff and outside resources to respond to the needs and concerns of all students."
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