(As originally published, Tue, March 7th 2023, 4:49 PM EST)
CLAYSBURG, Pa. (TND) — An elementary school janitor is behind bars, charged with dozens of counts of sexual abuse of children, and the investigation started with an 11-year-old student getting mysterious gifts at her desk.
WJAC reports the girl told her teacher a “secret admirer” had been leaving notes, candy, and other gifts.
After about a month, the student tried to find out who was doing that by leaving a note of her own.
The teacher became concerned when the student said her admirer’s name was Ethan. There aren’t any students named Ethan in the class.
But there was an Ethan Colpetzer.
He’s a 30-year-old employee at Claysburg Elementary School near Altoona, Pa. He became a full-time custodian for the Claysburg-Kimmel School District four years ago, in early 2019.
Investigators said Colpetzer had “singled out” the 11-year-old to other school employees, and had reportedly asked for her name.
Then, police said, they learned a fellow employee “caught” Colpetzer taking photos of students in the cafeteria.
A school resource officer reported one of those photos “zoomed-in” on that 11-year-old girl “bent over” at a lunch table.
Police said the officer found another showing a nude child who has not been identified. That prompted the school to call authorities.
On Colpetzer’s phone, investigators with a search warrant said they found
“74 photos of prepubescent children performing various sex acts on themselves, other children, or adults”
“several nude photos of children clearly under the age of 18.”
They said Colpetzer admitted to saving those images from the internet, and to leaving the gifts and candy for the 11-year-old girl.
Colpetzer is charged with 75 counts of sexual abuse of children, and one count each of attempted corruption of minors and copying obscene material.
He’s being held in lieu of $100,000 bond.