The Journal Gazette
Friday, December 13, 2019 12:49 am

Ex-teacher charged in seduction of student

Former band director also facing child porn charge

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

Hugs turned into kisses on the cheek and then “actual kisses,” the victim told police.

The encounters took place in the band director's office, band room and storage room.

Josiah D. Pfenning, 31, a former band director at Heritage Junior-Senior High School, was charged Thursday with child seduction and possession of child pornography. 

Pfenning, of the 1600 block of Vintage Hill Cove, was being held at the Allen County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bail. 

His victim said the seduction started during her junior year of high school when she was 16 and continued throughout the summer and into the first week of school in September this year, according to court documents.

By then, the hugs had advanced to more advanced sex acts and Pfenning told her that he loved her and that when she turned 18, the two could start doing “a whole lot more.” 

In the meantime, Pfenning asked her to take photos of herself, eventually asking for photos of her without clothing. He told her what to send because “it would make him happy.” 

Pfenning always told her not to say anything because he would “be put away for a very long time.” He also told her to make sure she deleted everything, including conversations, they had on Instagram, court documents said. 

Meanwhile, a school parent had observed some of the behavior and called it “awkward and weird.” Students told police they talked to Pfenning and told him his relationship with the victim looked weird. 

Pfenning thanked them for letting him know, court documents said.

During the Sept. 3 East Allen County Schools board meeting agenda, Pfenning's name appeared under certified resignations. His resignation had taken place Aug. 22. It was also noted he'd taught for four years with the school district. 

On Aug. 26, EACS Superintendent Marilyn Hissong sent a letter to parents saying that a teacher at Heritage had engaged in misconduct, that the proper authorities were investigating and that the teacher was no longer employed by the district. 

Tamyra Kelly, EACS spokeswoman, said Pfenning passed an expanded criminal history check when he was hired.

In 2007, when Pfenning was 18, he was convicted of sexual misconduct with girls, 14 and 15, one at the Trinity of God Church in Ligonier and the other at West Noble High School.

Pfenning served time at the Noble County Jail.

Pfenning has a court hearing Monday.

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