Educator Charged With Sexual Assault in Chambersburg Area School District

“The Chambersburg Area School District failed to adequately implement policies and train its employees that would have prevented the sexual assault, and instead placed Duran-Tobias’ victims in a position where they were able to be preyed upon by him.”

In March of 2022, Chambersburg High School chemistry teacher, Benjamin Duran-Tobias, sexually assaulted one of his minor students on multiple occasions on school grounds.  During the several months leading up to the sexual assault, Duran-Tobias openly groomed and manipulated the minor in an attempt to gain her trust and ultimately prey upon her vulnerability.  Specifically, Duran-Tobias would openly pass inappropriate notes to the minor during class, ask other teachers to send the minor to his classroom during their class periods, placed her seat directly next to his desk, and would coerce the minor to stay in his classroom after school two to three times per week.

According to the lawsuit, Chambersburg School District knew or should have known that Duran-Tobias posed a serious threat to minors at the school, yet failed to protect the minor from his sexual abuse.  One teacher at the High School routinely witnessed Duran-Tobias pass notes to the minor and saw the minor in Duran-Tobias’ classroom not only during her lunch period, but also her prep period and after school.  He further noticed that Duran-Tobias ensured that  female students were seated closer to his desk, while male students were always seated in the back of the classroom. In addition, the teacher suspected that Duran-Tobias inflated the grades of his female students as compared to the male students. These all should have raised red flags that Duran-Tobias was initiating inappropriate relationships with his students, however, the District continued to provide Duran-Tobias with unfettered access to children at the school.

Duran-Tobias ultimately was charged and pled guilty to institutional sexual assault in school, indecent assault, and corruption of minors.  Duran-Tobias remains incarcerated.

The civil lawsuit filed against Duran-Tobias and Chambersburg Area School District alleges that the District failed to recognize clear and obvious signs of grooming, failed to implement policies that would have prevented the sexual assault, failed to train personnel regarding the recognition and prevention of abuse, and instead created an environment for students of the Chambersburg School District to be groomed and abused by an educator with a predatory nature like Duran-Tobias.

Friedman Schuman attorneys Derek R. Layser, Melissa Paris Miller, and Megan G. Knoll are actively representing the minor and her family in the lawsuit against Duran-Tobias and the Chambersburg Area School District.

“We commend our client for her bravery in coming forward and ensuring no other student at Chambersburg High School will suffer the devastating consequences of abuse at the hands of Duran-Tobias” says Attorney Knoll

Read more about the case in a recent article by clicking HERE.

jbergmueller@pennlive.com, Jonathan Bergmueller |. “Central Pa. District Should Have Prevented Teacher from Sexually Assaulting Girl in Classroom: Lawsuit.” Pennlive, PA Media Group, 4 Aug. 2023, www.pennlive.com/news/2023/08/family-says-central-pa-district-should-have-prevented-teacher-from-sexually-assaulting-students-in-his-classroom-lawsuit.html.

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