In January 2020, former Palisades High School and Parkland High School teacher and coach Christian Willman was sentenced to 6-12 years in state prison after pleading guilty to sexually abusing four students at Parkland High School and two students at Palisades High School. This sentence was part of a plea deal that spared the victims from testifying against Willman. He was sentenced to 1-2 years for each of the six victims.
He pleaded guilty to several charges, including sexual assault, criminal solicitation by a sports official, criminal use of a communication facility, illegal photographing of a minor child, and corruption of minors.
Willman will also be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law for 25 years following his release from prison and is banned from teaching or coaching ever again.
The former Palisades High School teacher and coach who was arrested in May on sex abuse charges is now facing additional charges involving at least 4 students at another high school.
Christian Willman taught and coached boy’s soccer at Parkland High School in South Whitehall Township between 2001 and 2011, before his time at Palisades High School. He was arrested in May for allegedly sexually assaulting one student and sexting another at Palisades High School. On June 27, he was arrested again for allegedly sexually assaulting at least four other students at Parkland.
Bucks County District Attorney Matthew Weintraub and Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin announced the additional charges on Thursday, which include four counts of corruption of minors and four counts of child pornography.
Investigators have said publicly that they believe there are additional victims and have asked anyone with information to contact Trooper Christopher Cleveland at Pennsylvania State Police Dublin at 215-766-5030.
Willman remains in jail with bail set at 10 percent of $1 million.
Attorney contributor Brian Kent is a former sex crimes prosecutor and the head of a national team of sex abuse victim attorneys. Here are a few thoughts from Brian regarding the legal options available to victims of sex abuse by teachers, coaches, and other school employees:
Sexual abuse by school employees is a nationwide problem and has affected communities in all 50 states. Sadly, there is a high potential for abuse in education and other professions where employees work from positions of trust and authority. School administrators must stay aware of the dangers these predators pose to their students and do everything they can to keep students safe.
When students come forward concerning sexual abuse by school employees, it’s important to investigate both the perpetrator and the school district itself. In some cases, the abuse may have been prevented if not for negligence by the school, such as failing to respond to previous allegations of sexual misconduct involving staff members.
In cases involving school negligence, the victims and their families may have the right to file a lawsuit against the school district.
If you or your child is a survivor of sexual abuse by a teacher, coach, or another school staff member, you can learn more about your family’s legal options by speaking with an experienced sex abuse victims lawyer.