Saturday, August 11, 2001

Ex-teacher admits abuse

Sex with students may bring prison

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        HAMILTON — A former Fairfield Senior High School teacher faces up to two years in prison after admitting in court Thursday he sexually abused three female Fairfield High School students between 1995 and this past spring.

        Music teacher Brian Schweikert, 40, Fairfield, pleaded guilty to a three-count bill of information charging him with two counts of sexual battery, a third-degree felony, and one count of attempted gross sexual imposition, a fifth-degree felony. Under a plea agreement with prosecutors, he faces no more than two years in prison, said Steve Tolbert, Butler County's chief assistant prosecutor.

        Mr. Schweikert, who was voted Teacher of the Year in 2000, is free on bond pending sentencing, scheduled for 11 a.m., Sept. 27, before Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Keith Spaeth. The court will also determine whether Mr. Schweikert should be designated a sexual predator.

        Under the plea agreement, Mr. Schweikert must surrender his teaching license and never apply for one again, Mr. Tolbert said.

        Mr. Schweikert resigned his teaching position May 25, hours before his arrest. Mr. Schweikert had been a music teacher in the district since 1987, working at the high school, freshman school and middle school.

        “He's already received a very harsh punishment because he will never be a teacher again,” said attorney Will Welsh, who is representing Mr. Schweikert. “It (was) a situation where students adored him. ... It's sort of like he became a star in his little world. People gravitated toward him because he did a good job ... admiration and feelings for him obviously got out of hand.”

        Mr. Welsh said that Mr. Schweikert had a consensual relationship with the first two victims and that he is now in counseling.

        All three victims were students and under age 18 at the time of the abuse, Mr. Tolbert said. Some improper conduct with all three occurred on school property.

        “Our biggest concern has always been to remove him from children,” said Fairfield Schools Superintendent Robert Farrell. “That's critical. We believe that now he will be permanently removed from contact with children.”

        Prosecutors said the first victim, now married and living out of state, was abused during the 1994-95 school year, when Mr. Schweikert had intercourse with her.

        The following year, Mr. Schweikert began abusing a second student, who graduated in 1997. Abuse of the third victim occurred during the past year.

        The abuse first came to light this spring when the second victim, who lives in Hamilton, came to a Fairfield High School band concert and saw a female student waiting by Mr. Schweikert's truck, as she had done six years previously.

        “She knew what that meant and went to talk to victim No. 3 about her band participation,” Mr. Tolbert said. "She knew about the abuse of the first victim, who had tutored her.”

        After chatting, the second victim got the younger girl's phone number and called her privately. After the younger girl admitted she was being abused, the older victim, now 23, told a teacher the next day. School officials called police.


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