ANDERSON — An Anderson man is charged with felony child molestation involving one of his former students.
Daniel P. Kuhn, 36, is charged with Level 4 felony child molesting – fondling or touching with child under 14.
Kuhn, a former special education teacher at Alexandria-Monroe High School, was placed on administrative leave on March 15, according to an affidavit of probable cause by Alexandria Police Detective Brian Holtzleiter.
According to the Indiana Educator License Lookup, Kuhn was employed full-time with the school district since Oct. 1, 2018.
Alexandria Community School Corp. Superintendent Melissa Brisco said in a press release that the district began the process of canceling Kuhn’s teaching contract for insubordination, immorality, neglect of duty and other good and just cause.
Kuhn “subsequently submitted a letter of resignation,” the press release states. His resignation was accepted at the public school board meeting on April 12.
When school officials became aware of an allegation of misconduct involving Kuhn it was reported to the Department of Child Services, law enforcement and the Indiana Department of Education, according to the press release.
The female student Kuhn is accused of molesting is 12, but has an intellectual intelligence level of a child half her age, according to the affidavit. She has also been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
A co-worker reported to school officials that he went to Kuhn’s classroom to borrow a printer, but discovered the classroom door was locked, according to the affidavit. He let himself into the room with a key and found two students in a dark classroom watching a movie.
Kuhn and the girl were in another room with the lights out and Kuhn was sitting on the floor in the dark leaning against a wall, according to the affidavit. The student was lying on the floor next to Kuhn.
The co-worker said a light outside of the room made it difficult to see in and he could not see any movement until Kuhn stood up. The co-worker said Kuhn acted very nervous and “stammering over himself,” according to the affidavit.
Kuhn did not immediately leave the room, but when he did, the co-worker said it appeared he was in an aroused state. The co-worker said Kuhn was “reluctant to leave the dark room.”
“It was very obvious that there was something going on,” the co-worker told Holtzleiter.
The co-worker immediately reported the incident to Principal Tom Johns and Kuhn was removed from the classroom, placed on paid administrative leave and told not to have contact with the girl or her family, according to the affidavit.
Holtzleiter said the school inspected Kuhn’s computer after he was placed on administrative leave and discovered Kuhn had performed a factory reset on the computer.
During the investigation, Holtzleiter also learned Kuhn broke a key off in the lock to a door that leads directly into the sensory room where he was found with the student to “prevent someone from accessing the classroom from that side.”
“I was told by Principal Johns that Daniel admitted to breaking the key off in the lock, however, Daniel stated it was to prevent sports teams from entering the classroom,” Holtzleiter wrote in the affidavit.
Moments after being escorted out of the building, Kuhn allegedly contacted Shay Powell, a paraprofessional who works in the classroom with him part-time, according to the affidavit.
Powell said Kuhn told her the student was not feeling well and asked to lie down on cushions in the second room that is used as a sensory room, according to the affidavit.
Powell said Kuhn’s assertion was unusual because the student did not appear to feel sick before she left for the day and the students either sit in a rocking chair or on bouncy balls when they are in the room.
Kuhn then told Powell he went directly to the student’s house and spoke with the girl’s parents for 45 minutes and then returned later that night to talk to them again, according to the affidavit.
The next day Kuhn called Powell and told her the girl’s parents said that if anyone came to the classroom to speak with their daughter, she should try to prevent it.
Powell said Kuhn changed his story several times when talking about being in the sensory room with the student, according to the affidavit. Powell told Holtzleiter that she was afraid that if something had happened to the student, the girl would not believe it was wrong.
She said the student thinks Kuhn is the “best teacher in the world and will write him notes and cards.”
The student was interviewed at Kids Talk, but has difficulty communicating. She told authorities she will sometimes sit on Kuhn’s lap in the rocking chair and it makes her happy, according to the affidavit.
The girl said it is always Kuhn’s idea to go into the sensory room and later told her mother that Kuhn likes to cuddle her and put his arms around her when she lies down on her back in the room, according to the affidavit.