Christian Willman, a former teacher and coach at schools in Bucks and Lehigh County, has been sentenced to six to twelve years in prison for sexually assaulting six students.
Willman Called “Pure Evil Masked As A Teacher” By Judge
According to court documents, Willman worked at Parkland High School from 2001 to 2011 as an industrial arts/tech ed teacher as well as a theater/stage crew supervisor. From 2011 to 2018, he worked at Palisades High School as an engineering teacher, club advisor, and girls soccer coach.
In May 2019, Willman was arrested following an investigation into incidents that occurred with two students at Palisades High School. The investigation began after one of the former students graduated and told another teacher what had occurred. Willman was immediately placed on leave and later had his employment terminated. In June, additional charges were added after four students from Parkland came forward with additional allegations.
Prosecutors claimed that Willman would begin to groom his victims when they were as young as 14. He would wait until they turned 16, then the sexual abuse would begin. He would “sext” the students, send them nude photographs of himself, and engaged in physical sexual contact with them. One student reported that he engaged in sex acts with her during school functions. He also invited the victims over to drink at his house when his wife and children weren’t home. As soon as they graduated, he would cut off contact.
One of the victims was brave enough to speak in court, stating, “He spoke to me like a friend. At 14-years-old, this made me feel special.”
The case was originally scheduled to go to trial, however, a plea deal was made. Willman pleaded guilty to sexual assault by a sports official, sexual contact with a student, criminal solicitation to commit sexual assault by a sports official, criminal solicitation to commit sexual contact with a student, criminal use of a communication facility, manufacturing child pornography and four counts of corruption of minors.
During the sentencing, Buck County Judge Wallace H. Bateman said “Instead of a teacher, these young women were introduced to and left with a predator. The physical and emotional damage will never be forgotten. The damage, by all accounts, is immeasurable.” Judge Bateman also called Willman, “pure evil masked as a teacher”.
The sad reality is that Willman may have other victims. Police are happy to assist any other victims of Willman who would like to come forward and seek justice.
The Student-Teacher Relationship: Sexual Predators Take Advantage Of A Power Position
Although it’s absolutely true that the vast majority of teachers work hard to share knowledge with their students and to encourage them to chase their dreams, the very nature of the student-teacher relationship places teachers in a position of power. This position is used by sexual predators to groom and ultimately try and control their victims.
Although the exact numbers aren’t known, the fact is that anonymous surveys show results that indicate that sexual assault and rape are vastly underreported. There are many reasons why victims choose to not report their abuse, including:
- Love: Most victims know their abuser and have feelings for them.
- Fear: It’s not uncommon for an abuser to use their position of power to threaten their victims. These threats may be physical, such as threatening to hurt the victims or their loved ones, or mental/emotional, such as threatening to fail a student if they report abuse.
- A Belief That Nothing Will Be Done To Stop The Abuse: Many victims truly believe that the police can’t help them or that if they report the abuse, they won’t be believed.
These are just a few examples of why a student may not come forward immediately.
Schools Are Responsible For Protecting Students
When hiring employees, school administrations must do everything in their power to ensure that those hired have clean background checks, are fully qualified and licensed, and that they understand the seriousness of sexual assault and rape in schools. If the administration fails to protect students, the school could be named in a sexual assault lawsuit filed by the victims and their loved ones.
Abuse Guadian Attorneys: Fighting Aggressively For The Victims Of Sexual Assault
The attorneys at Abuse Guardian have helped thousands of survivors fight for justice and compensation for the abuse that they have endured through a civil lawsuit. This lawsuit is separate from any criminal charges and could allow the plaintiff to recover compensation to pay for medical treatments, lost wages, physical pain, and emotional trauma.
To learn more about your legal rights after sexual assault, contact Abuse Guardian today for a free consultation.