A teacher at Crestview Middle School in Huntington has been placed on leave after he was charged this week with child molesting and several other offenses while teaching at the now-closed Imagine Master Academy in Fort Wayne.
"It has been brought to our attention that legal action has been taken in regard to an employee of the Huntington County School Corporation. Appropriate actions were taken by HCCSC Administration immediately upon notification of this matter," Superintendent Chad Daughterty said in a statement. "Our number one priority is always the safety and security of our students and staff members. Due to this being an open investigation, we are unable to comment further."
Eric M. Gerdes, 39, of Huntington was charged Monday with two counts of sexual misconduct with a minor, child molesting, vicarious sexual gratification and dissemination of matter harmful to minors, all felonies.
The victim told police she was forced to perform sex acts on Gerdes several times in his classroom between 2011 and 2013 when he was a teacher at Imagine Master Academy.
He also performed sex acts on her, according to court documents. The victim was 13 and in the sixth grade when some of the molestation occurred. It's not clear how old she was when the molestation started.
He also had her perform a sex act on video chat for him several times, court documents said.
Gerdes was released from the Allen County Jail on $35,000 bond. His initial court hearing was Wednesday.
Imagine Master Academy and a sister school closed their doors in 2013 when Ball State University declined to renew their charters, citing poor academic performance and insufficient growth.