CLEARFIELD – A former substitute teacher accused of telling students about her sex life and drug habit in class at the Clearfield County Career & Technology Center (CCCTC) will stand trial.
Darice J. Brady-McKee, 34, of LaJose will face two counts of dissemination of explicit sexual material to a minor, F3. She will also face 30 counts of corruption of minors, M1.
She was originally facing two additional counts of corruption of minors, M1. Both were dismissed after a preliminary hearing Wednesday before Magisterial District Judge James Hawkins.
Former CCCTC Executive Director William H. Weaver, 55, of Bellefonte has also been charged with two counts of failure to report/refer, M2, and disorderly conduct, S. Weaver’s hearing has been continued until 12 p.m. Aug. 5.
Former CCCTC Assistant Director Cathy M. Thomas, 61, of Morrisdale has been charged with failure to report/refer, M2, and disorderly conduct, S. She has waived the charges against her to court.
Both Weaver and Thomas resigned from the CCCTC in May when allegations surfaced about their handling of the alleged misconduct by Brady-McKee.
During Wednesday’s preliminary hearing, Cosmetology students at the CCCTC testified that Brady-McKee made them feel uncomfortable when she discussed her sex life while subbing in their class during their sophomore year.
Students alleged that Brady-McKee told them that she had two cell phones. She had one for her relationship and family life and another for the men with whom she cheated “on the side.”
Students also alleged she showed them pictures of males’ private parts and asked if they had any to share with her. Students testified they reported Brady-McKee to their regular teacher the next day who then notified the assistant director, Weaver.
Other Cosmetology students testified that Brady-McKee made them feel uncomfortable when she discussed her drug use with them. Students alleged Brady-McKee told them she could get them marijuana and if they wanted to, she’d smoke with them.
During their testimony, Health Occupations students alleged that while subbing on March 23-24, Brady-McKee talked about her sex life and showed bruises, scratches, etc. on her breasts, legs and back from having “rough sex” in a vehicle over the weekend.
Students alleged that Brady-McKee then took a call on her private cell phone while in the classroom and repeated the same details that she’d just shared with them.
Students also testified that Brady-McKee talked about drug use. Students alleged that Brady-McKee commented about wanting to live in Colorado “to smoke marijuana every day” and that she liked marijuana better than marriage.
Students said while they discussed their trip to the beach, Brady-McKee jumped in, saying they needed an adult to make the hotel accommodations for them. Students alleged that she offered to get the room and to buy them alcohol and marijuana.
Students reported Brady-McKee’s alleged misconduct to their regular teacher upon her return to the school. Students said they also reported it to the CCCTC office.
Officer Zachary Cowan testified that on May 1 he received a report about an alleged incident of sexual harassment that had occurred at the CCCTC. Further, he learned from a parent that a substitute teacher had made sexual comments to students.
He also learned that the administrators at the CCCTC were made aware of the alleged sexual harassment, which had occurred in March. However, he was told that nothing had been done about it and the substitute teacher was still there.
Cowan said he went to the CCCTC on May 1 and spoke to Weaver, who was then the executive director. Cowan said he asked the mother to come into the township police station after she reported the alleged sexual harassment to her student’s home school.
As part of his investigation, Cowan said he interviewed the Health Occupation students in both the morning and afternoon classes. As his investigation progressed, he also interviewed the Cosmetology students.
Cowan said he collected approximately 32 written statements from students who were exposed to Brady-McKee’s alleged misconduct.
Cowan said when he interviewed Brady-McKee at the police station, she corroborated the students’ stories. For example, he said she admitted to talking to the students about sex but only because they asked or it came up in conversation.
Cowan also said that Brady-McKee claimed that she was only joking about buying the students alcohol for their trip and denied saying she’d buy them drugs.
Cowan believed it took longer than usual for Brady-McKee to complete her written statement. He also believed she was withholding details and trying not to incriminate herself.
When asked Cowan said he found consistencies between the information collected from the students and that from Brady-McKee.
Defense attorney Gary Allen Knaresboro, Esq. of DuBois argued that the commonwealth didn’t present sufficient testimony to support many of the corruption of minor charges against Brady-McKee.
However, District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. countered, saying Cowan had collected 32 written statements from students who had allegedly been exposed to inappropriate and sexual comments/behavior made by their substitute teacher.
Shaw said parents in the community have the right to expect that they can send their children to school and not be exposed to the topics of drugs and sex outside of what’s intended in the curriculum.
“It’s a line that no teacher should cross,” he said.
Shaw stressed that Brady-McKee crossed that line by counseling students to smoke marijuana, offering to buy drugs and alcohol for a trip and talking about “rough sex” and showing inappropriate parts of her body.