BENNINGTON — A former Pine Cobble teacher pled not responsible Wednesday to at least one depend of repeated aggravated sexual assault of a former pupil, underneath the age of 16.
What began as assist for the center college pupil throughout a difficult 12 months, courtroom paperwork allege, quickly turned a number of sexual assaults spanning over 10 months between the ex-math teacher and his pupil on the Berkshire non-public college in Williamstown, Mass.
Peter Hirzel, 60, of Pownal, was arraigned in Bennington Superior Court on the one felony sexual assault cost. He is being held with out bail on the Marble Valley Regional Correctional Facility in Rutland, pending a weight of proof listening to.
According to a police affidavit, Hirzel was the sufferer’s former math teacher on the prekindergarten by means of ninth grade college; he taught sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade courses.
The sufferer’s therapist contacted the kid’s mom after particulars emerged about what had occurred at Hirzel’s Pownal residence between April 2021 and January 2022. Hirzel befriended the sufferer throughout what was described as a “robust 12 months” for the sufferer. The sufferer’s mom believed Hirzel served as a “optimistic assist particular person” for her youngster, driving the sufferer to his Pownal residence to speak. Eventually, Hirzel was allowed to select up the sufferer and go collectively to his residence.
Hirzel allegedly instructed the sufferer that he had moved into a new home in Pownal and needed the sufferer to color a mural within the loft of the residence, which the sufferer and the sufferer’s mom agreed to. On a subsequent go to, Hirzel put his head on the sufferer’s chest, began kissing and fondling the sufferer, which later led to quite a few sexual acts and intercourse on a number of events over many months.
The defendant allegedly finally launched sex toys and “spiked canine collars” into their encounters, with the sufferer telling police that they’d sex “virtually each time they went over his home.”
Hirzel and the sufferer communicated by means of FaceTime, Snapchat, Instagram and Messenger, typically utilizing faux names and completely different accounts. Hirzel allegedly instructed the sufferer to not say something about their relationship, as a result of he didn’t need to “get caught” or “get in hassle.” When police requested the sufferer if Hirzel tried to make contact since disclosing the connection, the sufferer stated he had, utilizing a “burner sort” of account on Instagram.
Police issued a search warrant for Hirzel’s Pownal residence quickly after the allegations got here out and located many of the quite a few gadgets the sufferer had talked about to police.
Attempts to succeed in the college after hours have been unsuccessful. Hirzel isn’t listed as college on the college, though his LinkedIn profile lists Pine Cobble as his place of employment from August 2018 to current, however it additionally lists self-employment starting in August.
Hirzel faces a minimal sentence of 25 years, a most of life imprisonment and a potential $50,000 high quality if convicted.