MONTROSE — A former Lakeside Elementary teacher has admitted to sexually assaulting a boy before he was employed by the Wayne Highlands School District.
Kyle Justin Cobb, 28, Union Dale, pleaded guilty Friday in Susquehanna County Court to one felony count of statutory sexual assault and a misdemeanor count of indecent assault of a person under the age of 13.
Originally, he was charged with felony counts of rape including forcible compulsion, rape of a child, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a person less than 13 years of age, involuntary deviate intercourse — forceable compulsion and two counts of aggravated indecent assault. He was also charged with two misdemeanor counts of indecent assault.
The original allegations came in March of last year when the victim told police he had been molested by Cobb when he was between the ages of 11 and 13 years. He told police the incidents happened when he was visiting the Cobb family farm outside of Union Dale. That victim is now an adult.
The victim reported the incidents to Children and Youth Services in Susquehanna County. He said he was sexually assaulted on various occasions between 2005 and 2007 when he was 11-13 years old. Cobb was 19-20 years old at the time of the incidents.
When those charges came out, Cobb was immediately suspended without pay from his job as a fourth grade teacher at Lakeside Elementary in Honesdale.
On Aug. 21, 2012, Cobb was terminated from his job by the Wayne Highlands School Board. That motion passed unanimously following a 45 minute executive session by the board. No discussion took place, only the motion to terminate Cobb's employment. Board president Tom Fasshauer did say after the executive that it was an "important discussion."
According to court documents in Susquehanna County, Cobb told police during a March 24, 2012, interview that he had engaged in oral sex with the child on one occasion and another assault took place while the two were riding four-wheelers near Union Dale.
Court documents indicate that Cobb struck a deal with the District Attorney in Susquehanna County and may possibly spend only a year and a half behind bars. The maximum sentence is up to 15 years in prison.
President Judge Kenneth Seamans said he would honor the plea agreement between Cobb and the district attorney's office.
After his arrest, Cobb was placed under $100,000 bond. He did make bail and has been out since. Cobb remains out on bond until he is sentenced in April.
Cobb was hired in July 2010 to work as a fourth grade teacher, according to Superintendent Greg Frigoletto.
Frigoletto said that Cobb passed all of the required background checks with a "clean slate."
Those checks are conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Pennsylvania State Police and Children and Youth Services.
Page 2 of 2 - "There was no record of anything," said Frigoletto last year following the arrest of Cobb.
What to do
Michele Minor-Wolf, executive director of the Victims Intervention Program in Wayne County, said if anyone suspects child sexual abuse or any other form abuse, they should contact authorities immediately.
"Tell, tell, tell," said Wolf.
She said one of the most important aspects is to listen and "believe the child. You have to be supportive and let them know it is not at all their fault."
She also pointed out that in cases like this, it is the child who suffers the most.
"Children are affected the rest of their lives," said Wolf.
Incidents of abuse in this area have been on the rise in recent years.
If you suspect abuse or if you would like to find out more about VIP, contact them at 253-4401.