CLEARFIELD – An aide has been accused of inappropriately touching a female student in the locker room at the Clearfield County Career and Technology Center.
Edna M. Spencer, 59, of Clearfield has been charged by Officer Zachary S. Cowan of the Lawrence Township police with a felony count of corruption of minors/defendant age 18 years or above and a misdemeanor count of indecent assault.
Spencer waived her right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday during centralized court at the Clearfield County Jail. Her bail is currently set at $5,000 unsecured.
The charges stem from an incident that occurred March 15 at the CCCTC, according to the affidavit of probable cause.
Cowan received a CY report detailing an incident that occurred in the female locker room. Spencer allegedly “brushed” her hands on a juvenile student’s unclothed sides while making an inappropriate comment.
The incident occurred in front of two other juvenile students and Spencer was confronted by a school administrator. She reportedly admitted to having conducted in the said behavior and was placed on administrative leave.
Cowan contacted school administrator, Fred Redden, in order to obtain more information. Redden provided statements from three students, all of whom reported several incidents of misconduct on the part of Spencer.
Redden was asked why Spencer was using the locker room’s bathroom facilities. He was unsure why she wasn’t using the bathrooms she should be, which are located in the school’s hallway.
On March 29, Cowan returned to the CCCTC to speak with Redden again. He provided a written statement regarding the incident, as well as the admission that Spencer had given him.
Cowan asked about the nature of Spencer’s job at the school, and Redden explained that she was an aide who accompanied a male student there. Cowan proceeded to contact the three students.
A female student told Cowan that Spencer had touched her sides while her shirt was off and while making an inappropriate comment to her. This was corroborated by two other student witnesses.
All three students went on to say that Spencer’s actions made them feel uncomfortable. They said she only used the locker room’s restroom when female students are inside, and she also stayed to watch them change into their uniforms.
According to the students, Spencer had started doing this at the beginning of the school year, and it had continued to happen on a daily basis.
The students said that the incidents had escalated from her watching them and making inappropriate comments to inappropriate touching.
Because Spencer’s actions made them so uncomfortable, the students reported her to a teacher and then ultimately to Redden. Cowan had the students provide detailed written statements.
On April 2, Cowan interviewed Spencer at the township police station. She admitted that she had touched the one female student but claimed it was only with her fingertips on her sides.
Spencer demonstrated the act and also admitted to making the inappropriate comment, which she saw as a compliment.
She continually commented that there wasn’t any intent, which Cowan called a common tactic used by defendants trying to conceal the truth.
Spencer said she made the inappropriate comment to the student one time and only because she “admired” the student’s figure.
She initially denied inappropriately touching any other female students but did admit she had touched some girls’ back shoulder area.
Later in the interview, Spencer said she had touched a student’s lower back to help her adjust her clothing. She did admit to touching students’ legs but only because she liked the fabric of their pants.
Spencer, when asked, didn’t provide a reason for why she used the locker room’s restroom facilities over the staff facilities. She further denied any sort of wrongdoing on her part in the locker room.
She did eventually admit she should not have made the comment she had to the student. She was asked to demonstrate how she touched the female student again, and the second time she allegedly used her whole hands, not just her fingertips.
When Cowan pointed out the change in her hand gesture, Spencer claimed that the first one was the more accurate one. Cowan ultimately concluded that Spencer was being “deceptive” and attempting to protect herself.
Following the interview with the defendant, Cowan contacted Redden to clarify information. Redden requested to elaborate on how Spencer had admitted to touching the student. He said Spencer demonstrated the act as a “brushing motion with open hands.”