GREENCASTLE, Ind. (WISH) - Three North Putnam High School employees were at the Putnam County Courthouse Wednesday facing charges of child seduction in connection with a student at the school.
Police: Three men admit to Inappropriate relationship with male student
Police say the three have admitted to an inappropriate relationship with a 16-year-old student. They were arrested Tuesday but were released Wednesday on $10,000 bond each from Putnam County Jail.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Nicholas Vester, 24, a former substitute Spanish teacher at North Putnam High School, became involved with the teen at the end of last year. Vester told police he and the boy had exchanged text messages and pictures and they had also kissed and engaged in sex acts on two separate occasions. Vester
Craig Rogers, 24, is the band director at the school, now on paid administrative leave during the investigation. Police said Rogers admitted he texted with the student and kissed and hugged the student three times in school, once in December and twice in January.
Brandon Largent, 20, was a lifeguard and volunteer swim coach at the school. He admitted to police he exchanged messages and pictures with the teen and kissed the boy while in school. The school suspended Largent in January, and he resigned shortly thereafter.
The school said in a statement released Wednesday that it was cooperating with law enforcement officials' efforts, and would remain silent on the specifics of the case because the investigation is ongoing. The school emphasized that it took immediate action to suspend those involved upon hearing of the allegations.
The school also said it would forward information to the state Department of Education for purposes of the consideration of teacher licensing.
"Our goal is to insure the safety and security of all students. We abhor the nature of these allegations, and we are particularly distressed by the pain and suffering this has caused the victim, his family and our school community," the school's statement said.
All three men face a charge of child seduction.
"The age of consent in Indiana is 16 unless you are a teacher or in an advisory position at a school, which makes it child seduction," said Timothy Bookwalter, Putnam County prosecutor.
Defendants bond out
In court Wednesday, not guilty pleas were entered for each defendant. The judge ordered the men not to contact the boy, asked them to turn in their passports and then set bond at $10,000.
Less than an hour later, Rogers and Vester bonded out of jail. Largent bonded out later in the day.
The men and their families declined to be interviewed.
The arrests of the three men stunned many in this small community.
"It was shocking at first because you would not think it in your own hometown," said Brandy Muse, whose daughter was on the swim team under the guidance of Largent.
"There was nothing that even came close to even thinking there were signs of anything wrong in any way at all," Muse said.
Porn charges under investigation
All three men are set to return to court for a preliminary hearing on April 19. The prosecutor says additional charges could be filed.
"We are waiting for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security to send us all the texts, all the pictures," Bookwalter said. "Once we receive that, we can decide if there will be other charges."
Saturday morning, Wishard Memorial Hospital will close its doors.
Snow that moved through Central Indiana this week has wrapped up, leaving some areas with more than 10 inches of snow.
Free bags of salt will be available to the public Saturday after snow moved through Central Indiana this week.