PSP: Kennard-Dale student being charged for 'upskirting' 2 girls
A former Kennard-Dale student accused of inappropriately touching and trying to "upskirt" two girls at the school told investigators he "only wanted a quick peek," according to charging documents.
Christopher Michael Rustin, 18, of the 12000 block of Cross Roads Avenue in Cross Roads, has not yet been arraigned, according to court records.
He will be charged with two misdemeanor counts each of invasion of privacy and indecent assault and six counts of summary harassment — two counts each for subjecting others to physical contact, following others in a public place and engaging a course of conduct with no legitimate purpose, according to court records.
State police filed the charges Thursday, Aug. 9.
Troopers began investigating in February, after school officials notified them that two girls who are Kennard-Dale students had complained about Rustin — who was a senior at the time — touching them under their skirts and other unwanted behavior, charging documents state.
On Feb. 16, school principal Heather Venne told troopers that Rustin grabbed one girl's skirt and touched her buttocks and that a second student also came forward that day with a similar complaint, documents state.
On camera: Video surveillance in one of the school's stairwells "clearly" showed Rustin walking closely behind the girl, then reaching up and grabbing her skirt while holding his cellphone in his right hand and trying to aim it under the girl's skirt to take a photo, charging documents allege.
At Venne's prompting, the girl wrote a statement about Rustin that read, in part:
"He has repeatedly touched me inappropriately, and I've told him multiple times to stop. Basically, every time I wear a skirt to school he follows behind me from class to class and touches my rear. ... I'm not the only one this has happened to either. A friend of mine ... told me that the exact same thing happened to her sometime in the 2016-2017 school year."
The girl ended her statement by writing, "I don't want to see this happen to any other girls," according to charging documents.
The second girl also gave the principal a written statement on Feb. 16, saying Rustin was following her "very, very" closely, documents state:
'Back the hell off': "He touched my butt (and) it was confident enough to be a grab so it took me a moment to realize what had happened. ... So I turned around and said back the hell off, and ran down the steps. ... he touched the bottom of my butt."
She wrote that she largely stopped wearing dresses and skirts to school after the incident, documents state.
The same day, Rustin provided a statement to the principal stating "I upskirted a fellow senior due to the temptation of an opportunity presenting itself. I did not record anything, just lifted her skirt and that was it," documents allege.
When state police interviewed Rustin, he told them he followed one of the girls in the stairwell, then grabbed the girl's skirt "because he wanted to lift it up 'to get a quick peek' underneath it," charging documents state.
Rustin said if he touched the girl's buttocks, it was accidental, according to documents.
"The defendant admitted he has tried to look under (that girl's) skirt and grabbed onto her clothing in the past," documents state.
'A quick peek': Those documents also quote Rustin as saying, "I can say that I have been in this situation before, though not as an adult, and have committed acts like this in the past. There was some concern I may have taken pictures and recorded with my devices but I assured those who asked that was not the intention. Only wanted a quick peek and be done with it."
He also acknowledged he did the same thing to the second girl who came forward, according to police.
Rustin allowed police to examine his cellphone and iPod, police said, adding that nothing of evidentiary value was found on the devices.
Both girls who came forward indicated Rustin repeatedly made such advances toward them, according to charging documents.
Rustin's family declined immediate comment on Monday, Aug. 13.
Zero tolerance: South Eastern School District Superintendent Jeffrey D. Hughes told The York Dispatch on Monday, Aug. 13, that the district has a zero-tolerance policy for such conduct.
He said the district works within state and federal laws "to ensure the safety and security of all students."
He said the district's schools always investigate allegations of impropriety and notify police even if it's not clear a law has been broken.
"We take our student code of conduct very seriously," Hughes said, and the district has students and parents sign a sheet stating they've read through that code. Also, he said, there are assemblies and programs every year to discuss the code of conduct with students.
"Our goal is to change behaviors," he said.
Hughes said the district has reached an agreement with Southern Regional Police that means there will now be a school resource officer in the district.
The superintendent encouraged students to report any conduct in school that makes them feel uncomfortable.
"Come forward to a trusted adult — a teacher, administrator, school counselor, whoever that happens to be," Hughes urged.
Rustin's preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 26, according to court records.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.