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Avonworth Teacher Charged In Alleged Sexual Assault Of Child

OHIO TOWNSHIP (KDKA) -- Walter Lynn Street has been a music teacher at Avonworth Elementary School since 2009.

He is now charged in the alleged sexual assault of a child.

"The sexual assault of a family member who no longer resides with him," says Cpl. Chris Simkoviak, of the Ohio Township Police Department.

Street, 59, is charged with rape, incest and assault of a little girl. She was 10-years-old when the alleged abuse began.

Avonworth parents were just getting wind of Street's arrest.

"I think there's going to be a lot of parents really upset," said parent Sousan Panizzi, who found Street overly-friendly with students. "I have a fourth grader. I cautioned my daughter a few years ago."

Street was hired in the Avonworth district in 1989, first working with the middle and high school bands.

The school district is taking the matter very seriously, according to the district's Dr. Dana Hackley.

"He is on administrative leave, and we have directed that he is not permitted to be on school grounds," said Dr. Hackley.

A letter from the superintendent was sent to parents reassuring them that swift action was taken.

"Him and his wife, I believe, have taken in over 25 foster children over the years with not one allegation of a problem," Street's defense attorney Michael Santicola said

Ohio Township Police were recently contacted by the district superintendent after an examination of Street's school-owned laptop computer.

According to the criminal complaint, an "inappropriate relationship" is referenced in a letter to the victim from Street.

It says: "This letter could get me into trouble (because of the content, and who might see it, if anyone)." It goes on about "letting my feelings show for someone that society says is a no-no." And finally, "I will try to keep my emotions and hands to myself."

The allegations of rape first surfaced in 2009 when the girl was a teenager, but she recanted them at that time.

Santicola says that Allegheny County Children, Youth and Family Services and police both investigated the charges then, but no charges were ever filed.

"I'm not sure of the desire of the victim now to change her story, once again, this will be the third time," adds Santicola.

Street's attorney says his client already planned to retire at the end of this school year, and would not be returning to his job regardless of what happens.

"I'm just relieved now that he's out of the school. He was too friendly with the girls," says Panizzi.

Neither school officials nor police believe there are any other victims at this time.

Street is being held at the Allegheny County Jail on $200,000 bond.

More Ohio Township News
More Reports by Mary Robb Jackson

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