NEWCOMERSTOWN, Ohio — A 33-year-old teacher in Tuscarawas County is facing charges after he was allegedly found by police in a car with a 16-year-old student.
Adam Lefler, a teacher and drama director at Newcomerstown High School, has been charged with sexual battery, a third-degree felony, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a first-degree misdemeanor, according to the Tuscarawas County Sheriff's Office.
Lefler has been placed on unpaid administrative leave, according to school officials.
Authorities said an Urichsville officer on routine patrol came across a vehicle parked at a shopping center on the corner of McCauley Drive and U.S. Route 250. The officer found Lefler and the teen inside the car.
The 16-year-old is Lefler's student, according to police.
The school district was made aware of the incident and has released the following statement from superintendent Jeff Staggs:
- Adam Lefler is a teacher and drama director at Newcomerstown High School. Today, we learned from the Tuscarawas Sheriff Department that he is under arrest and facing serious criminal charges stemming from an inappropriate relationship with a student.
- These are shocking and disturbing allegations. I have placed Mr. Lefler on unpaid administrative leave, effective immediately, and directed that he remains off school grounds and have no contact with District employees or students during the pendency of the criminal matter. I have made all necessary reports to the proper authorities. The Board of Education held an emergency meeting today at 1:00 p.m. to discuss this matter.
- We want our students, families, staff, and taxpayers to hear directly from us about this matter. First, we’re cooperating -- and will continue to cooperate -- with law enforcement in every way possible.
- Second, as always, we’re committed to working with any student or family that has concerns about anything surrounding our school system, including this. We have counseling resources available to those who need them.
- Finally, Mr. Lefler has had no previous discipline problems in our District nor has the District been made aware of any allegations of inappropriate conduct in the past.
- All of us work in education because we care about children. We’re sickened by these charges.
- Given that this case is now in the courts, this statement is all we can publicly say about the situation at this time. Our District remains committed to our first priority – providing a safe environment for our students so they can receive world class instruction and a well- rounded education.
Lefler is currently being held at the Tuscarawas County Jail, according to authorities.