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New sex abuse charges filed against former Palisades teacher

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Additional charges have been filed against a former Palisades teacher who, Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said, “essentially created an assembly line for his twisted sexual perversion.”

At a joint press conference with Lehigh County District Attorney James Martin Thursday, Weintraub said Christian Howard Willman, 39, of the 3800 block of South Church Street, Coopersburg, was charged Thursday with four counts of corruption of minors and four counts of child pornography for alleged crimes in Lehigh County.

The former teacher and women’s soccer coach at Palisades High School remains jailed in lieu of bail set at 10 percent of $1,000,000, following his arrest on Bucks County charges last May.

“I want to make sure first and foremost that the community understands that it is safe from this man, and second to ask for additional information,” Weintraub said. “This is a call to more potential victims and witnesses that may be out there.”

Authorities said the new charges reflect the systematic abuse of four female students at Parkland High School in South Whitehall Township, Lehigh County, where Willman was employed as a teacher, boys soccer coach and stage crew/theater supervisor from 2001 to 2011.

Martin said two of those students confided in a teacher who notified the superintendent, who contacted the Lehigh DA’s office. The Lehigh DA’s office has transferred jurisdiction for the prosecution of these offenses to the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office, which is handling the previously filed charges.

Those charges, several felony counts for the abuse of two female students of Palisades High School in Nockamixon Township, were filed May 14.

Taken together, authorities allege, the charges show a pattern of abuse of female students by Willman.

“He waits for them to turn 16, he then resorts to flattery, then to text messages, then physical abuse and stops victimizing his victims once they leave the high school,” Weintraub said.

In a press release issued Thursday, after the new charges were announced, Palisades School District said Willman was no longer employed by the district.

It said he was placed on administrative leave in April 2018, when “allegations of misconduct” were brought to the district’s attention and the “proper authorities and agencies were contacted to begin a thorough investigation into this matter.”

Willman was hired by the Palisades School District in 2011.

The Bucks DA’s office and investigators from Pennsylvania State Police believe there may be more victims, as well as individuals possessing corroborating information or electronic evidence.

“You may not consider yourself to be a victim, in the traditional sense of the word, but let us be the judge of whether or not you were one of his victims,” Weintraub said. “You are not alone, and you should not feel embarrassed to come forward and stand up for yourself.”

He called the young women who had come forward “incredibly brave” and said they “deserve to see this man brought to justice.”

Anyone with information about this case should contact Trooper Christopher Cleveland at PSP Dublin at 215-766-5030. The case continues to be investigated. Any additional Lehigh County investigations arising from this case will remain under the jurisdiction of the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office.


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