Juror to ex-tech teacher's sex victims: We believe you
The foreman of the York County jury that last week convicted a former vo-tech teacher of touching two students' genitals has a message for the man's victims:
"We listened, and we believed them," said Allen Miller, of Lower Windsor Township.
Miller was part of the jury that on Friday, July 20, found ex-York County School of Technology teacher Kevin Nagle guilty of all charges against him — two counts each of institutional vandalism and corruption of minors and one count of indecent assault.
Jurors deliberated for about two hours before convicting Nagle, 44, of McSherrystown.
At trial, the defense made much of the fact that one victim waited nearly a month to come forward and that both victims had trouble remembering what they'd originally told investigators in 2016.
Credible: "Their memories were flawed, they contradicted themselves, they changed their answers. One had trouble identifying which body part was being touched," Miller said. "In one sense, that makes for a bad witness."
But jurors determined both young men were credible and that both "were touched in ways they shouldn't be touched," he said. The victims were 17 when the assaults happened.
"I think they were victimized in part because they were students who did have trouble with their memories. They got confused, they did not articulate things well," he said. "That might have been something that contributed to them being (targeted as) victims in the first place. What we know is, it is exactly people like that who tend to be victimized in our society — people who won't be good witnesses, people who get confused."
Miller said the monthlong reporting delay by one of the victims didn't give him pause.
"In the scheme of things, a month later is like lightning speed in my mind," he said, noting that coming forward can be difficult for some sex-crime victims, especially males.
Jurors asked each other whether everyone was absolutely sure, "because this is going to have a tremendous impact on Mr. Nagle and his family," he said.
'Tragic': Miller told The York Dispatch that he found the demands of jury duty rigorous.
"But none of that measures up at all to what it's like to stand there and read the verdict when you hear the (defendant's) family members crying," he said. "You're inflicting pain on people who don't deserve it, yet they are caught up (in it). It's just tragic.
"That was a very difficult moment in the courtroom."
Miller said his fellow jurors were people he was glad to be able to serve with.
"They were concerned for one another, they were concerned about the victims, and they were concerned for the defendant," he said. "I felt really good about the discussion among the jurors."
He said the jury carefully weighed the defense's argument that if jurors believed Nagle groped the teens while measuring their inseams, it was merely because he's a fastidious dresser who thinks others should also dress fastidiously.
"Their argument for why it happened didn't hold much water," he said. "We just posed the question (of) can any of us come up with any kind of reason or rationale that would explain the behavior other than sexual arousal. We just couldn't come up with anything."
'Arousal' requirement: According to state law, to be guilty of institutional sexual assault a defendant such as a teacher or anyone who has a supervisory role over children must commit the act for the purpose of sexual arousal, and the victim must be a student or otherwise under the defendant's supervision.
Nagle's victims testified at trial that he did not appear aroused.
"Sexual arousal isn't something that necessarily occurs in the moment," Miller said, adding jurors spent a lot of time talking about the sexual arousal requirement in the law.
They determined Nagle's actions had to be for the purpose of sexual arousal "because nobody would do that for any other reason," Miller said.
About the case: The jury found that Nagle inappropriately touched the teens under the guise of measuring them for pants in November 2016.
At the time, Nagle taught business classes at York Tech and also managed the school store.
The two teens testified they went to the school store to buy shirts.
While they were there, each alone and on separate dates, Nagle told them that their pants were baggy then offered to measure them for a proper fit, even though neither was buying pants, according to testimony.
The victims testified at trial that Nagle measured their inseams while they were naked from the waist down and that he touched their genitals while doing so.
'No touching': The encounters happened in the storeroom of the school store, according to testimony.
Two school administrators testified during the weeklong trial that Nagle was specifically told in October 2016 not to touch students, not to measure or fit students for clothing and to allow students to buy whatever sizes they chose.
There was nothing introduced at trial to explain why administrators issued those directives to Nagle.
Nagle's sentencing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Oct. 1.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.