Investigation of Avonworth Elementary music teacher ongoing

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Ohio Township police said today that they have no evidence that an Avonworth Elementary School music teacher and choir director accused of molesting a relative for years had victimized any other children at his house or at the school.

Walter Street, 59, of Ben Avon, was charged Friday and is being held in the Allegheny County Jail. His alleged victim, 22, said he had sexually abused her since she was 10.

"The investigation is ongoing," said Cpl. Chris Simcoviak this morning. "At this point we have identified no other victims."

He said police and the district attorney's office will reach out to other relatives in the coming months, but the focus now is on the 22-year-old. 

Cpl. Simcoviak said the current case began shortly after Christmas when other teachers at Avonworth said they noticed Mr. Street acting inappropriately with children in the cafeteria, such as holding them in his lap.

Teachers took their concerns to the superintendent, Thomas Ralston, who examined Mr. Street's school-issued laptop computer and found a letter addressed to the alleged victim that referenced an inappropriate sexual relationship.

School officials turned the computer over to police, who in 2009 had interviewed the girl, then 17, about abuse claims she made to the director of a Christian ministry for troubled youth in Avalon, a few blocks from her house.

Cpl. Simcoviak interviewed the girl and received a typed statement describing the abuse. But at a forensic interview attended by her mother, he said, she recanted. She later recanted again at a second interview at the police station, again attended by her mother.

After the letter surfaced, Cpl. Simcoviak made contact on Jan. 30 with the woman, who has since left the Ben Avon area. After he showed her the letter, she said she was familiar with it because Mr. Street had hand-delivered it to her in September or October.

The woman then said her original allegations from 2009 were true and signed a statement to that effect.


Torsten Ove: tove@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1510.

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