Spring Grove school district employee faces institutional sexual assault charges
A Spring Grove school district tech support employee is accused of having inappropriate relations with a 17-year-old female Spring Grove High School student.
Benjamin Warfield, 25, of 30 Fifth St. in Hanover, was charged Sept. 30 with one count each of institutional sexual assault and unlawful contact with a minor, both felonies, and two counts of corruption of minors, according to police.
Robert Lombardo, superintendent of Spring Grove Area School District, asked to meet with police after receiving an email from the parent of a 17-year-old girl, according to charging documents.
"The school was made aware of it through the (alleged victim's) family and notified us," Northern York County Regional Police Chief Mark Bentzel said, adding that his department immediately began investigating.
Warfield and the student knew each other from school musicals and church productions, and she had worked with him during the summer at the Spring Grove High School technical support office, documents state.
The student's father took issue with the texts Warfield was exchanging with the teen because they were not related to the musicals and he believed Warfield was trying to "groom" the victim, police say.
The girl told authorities she and Warfield were much closer than just working together on school productions. She said she would meet him at his house, where they kissed and he touched her breasts, police allege.
Police were given permission to analyze her cellphone to observe the exchanges between the two, documents state.
On June 4, Warfield sent text messages to the girl asking to meet her in the school's tech room because "there aren't any cameras in there," according to documents.
The girl told authorities that Warfield knew where the cameras were in the school and he would direct her to meet in certain rooms where there weren't cameras, documents state.
On June 21, Warfield sent a text message suggesting the girl lie to her mother to get a ride to a Hanover mall so she could then meet him at his house nearby, police said.
In September, the girl sent Warfield a text message telling him not to text her for a little while, and told him to instead contact her on Kik Messenger, a smartphone messaging app, according to the report.
Warfield remains free on $75,000 unsecured bail, according to online court records. A preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 19.
— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at email@example.com