A former dean of students in Red Lion Area School District admits to sex with teen

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A former Red Lion Area School District employee who most recently served as dean of students at the district's junior high school has admitted to having sex with a 17-year-old student.

Since then, Chad T. Keiser said, "I have lived with it in my mind," and he regrets it.

Former Red Lion Area School District employee Chad T. Keiser, left, leaves the York County Judicial Center, Thursday, July 9, 2020, with his attorney Chris Ferro after pleading guilty to having sex with a student about 13 years ago. Bill Kalina photo

"I have asked for forgiveness from my family, my wife and the Red Lion School District," he said.

Keiser, 45, of Strayer Drive in Windsor Township, pleaded guilty Thursday in York County Court to one count of corruption of a minor, graded as a first-degree misdemeanor.

His negotiated plea agreement with prosecutors calls for a sentence of four years' probation, senior deputy prosecutor Erin Kraska said.

But presiding Common Pleas Judge Maria Musti Cook declined to sentence Keiser at Thursday's hearing because the plea agreement also calls for him to have unsupervised contact with his three children — ages 13, 8 and 3 — and the judge wanted probation officials to first approve that condition.

A probation official informed the judge that before the probation department approves that condition, Keiser must undergo a sexual-interest assessment and a polygraph, or lie-detector, test.

"I don't have enough information to make that determination on a long-term basis," Cook said in court.

Former Red Lion Area School District employee Chad T. Keiser leaves the York County Judicial Center, Thursday, July 9, 2020, after pleading guilty to having sex with a student about 13 years ago. Bill Kalina photo

Defense attorney Chris Ferro asked that Cook set out sentencing for at least 90 days, so that Keiser can remain at home with his children until the testing is complete.

Kraska noted that Keiser has had full access to his children since being charged because his bail conditions didn't prohibit that.

"To pull Mr. Keiser out of his home and out of his children's lives ... would do more harm than good for that family," Ferro told the judge.

Cook set sentencing for Oct. 14.

Keiser described his sexual contact with the 17-year-old girl as brief and consensual.

Pennsylvania law, however, states that a minor cannot consent to illegal sexual contact.

'Coaxed' student: York Area Regional Police filed the corruption charge against Keiser on Dec. 20 and said he coaxed the 17-year-old Red Lion Area High School student into having a sexual relationship with him.

According to court documents, the woman told police she was a student at Red Lion Area High School, was a member of the school band and was a senior during the 2006-07 school year.

She turned 18 in January 2007 before graduating in June of that year, police said.

Keiser did not face a felony charge of institutional sexual assault because in 2006-07, schools were not included in the list of institutions that were covered by that offense, according to Kyle King, spokesman for the York County District Attorney's Office.

"Schools were not added in that legislation until 2011," he said.

At the time of the sexual relationship, Keiser was an elementary school teacher in the district and also was assistant director of the Red Lion Area High School band, which is how the girl knew him, police said.

"(She) stated Keiser somehow obtained her cellphone number during the late summer or fall of 2006," court documents state. "She said Keiser sent her a text message telling her she looked good after a football game. (She) stated she eventually figured out that Keiser had sent the text message."

The woman said she believes her relationship with Keiser became sexual sometime in the early fall of 2006, when she was 17, and also told investigators that the two engaged in sexual intercourse and oral sex, documents state.

Chad Keiser

Keiser's background: Keiser graduated from Red Lion Area High School in 1993 and was hired as an elementary school teacher in 1997, according to his school district biography, which is no longer available on Red Lion Area's website. He later became assistant director of the Marching Lions.

As of October 2019, he was dean of students for Red Lion Area Junior High School, served as the district's music supervisor, was co-director of the district's eJazz Band and was supervisor of elementary art and physical education, according to that biography. He also was set designer/technical director for the all-school musical, stage crew adviser and director of the district's madrigal choir.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.

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