One felony charge has been dismissed against a Fairfield High School teacher accused of sexual conduct with a teen student.
The dismissal came on the second day of Tyler Conrad’s trial in Butler County Common Pleas Court.
Conrad, 27, of Hamilton, was originally charged with two counts of sexual battery, sexual imposition and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. His bench trial began Monday.
After the prosecution rested its case, both the defense and prosecution agreed that one charge of sexual battery had not been proven by the evidence presented. Judge Keith Spaeth then dismissed the charge, but the second charge of sexual battery, sexual imposition and contributing to the delinquency of a minor will stay.
Videos from security cameras at Fairfield High School and Conrad’s interview with Fairfield detectives were played Tuesday in the courtroom.
Fairfield Schools resource officer Kevin Harrington said he spent a week reviewing the archived tapes from late August to October 2016 from a camera pointed in the hallway where Conrad’s classroom was located.
He was looking for video of the 16-year-old girl who testified Conrad inappropriately touched her in his classroom.
Six tapes were projected for the judge to review, showing the girl and Conrad going in and out of the classroom late in the school day.
Sometimes they appeared to be walking near each other, at other times they entered and exited several minutes after each other. Other students, faculty, and a security guard were also seen coming and going in the hallway.
Defense attorney Chris Pagan pointed out during cross examination that two of the classroom doors were close together and the angle was from a distance. He noted any activity in the classroom itself could not be viewed and it appeared the classroom door was never closed.
“On one of the videos, I believe the last one, it appears Mr. Tyler Conrad closed the door and locked it,” Harrington said.
On Monday the girl testified for nearly two hours stating Conrad’s attention began with rubbing her shoulders and touching her leg and then later he touched her private area on the outside of her clothing and an another occasion making penetration.
Penetration is an element for the charge of sexual battery, thus that charge was not proven based her the testimony and dismissed.
The student said Conrad picked her up in the summer of 2016 and took her to a Ross Twp. house where he began kissing her and carried her to a bedroom. When he touched her on the outside of her private area, she said she became uncomfortable and he stopped.
The defense tried to get the straight “A” student to recall dates or a range of dates of the incidents, but she could not. Pagan also used transcripts of past interviews with police to point out her statements were not the same as the current testimony.
A friend testified Monday that the teen told her about the incident in Ross Twp. on Memorial day weekend. Pagan presented evidence that Conrad was in Florida Memorial Day weekend 2016.
When the girl reported the incident to a youth leader and it was reported to Fairfield police, Detective Rebecca Ervin said it was difficult to interview the teen in October 2016.
“She was very concerned about what was going on in school and who would ‘know’,” Ervin said during testimony.
After interviewing the girl, her parents and some students, Ervin said she went to interview Conrad at the school.
“He immediately pulled out his phone and started to manipulate it … I confiscated,” Ervin said.
Cell phone data from Conrad’s phone and the girl’s phone indicates from May 7, 2016 to Oct. 9, 2016, 83 calls were exchanged, Ervin testified.
In the same period of time 2,876 text messages were exchange between the girl and Conrad, according to phone records.
During a nearly 90-minute interview with detectives on Oct. 13, Conrad denied having any sexual contact with the girl.
Conrad told detective Ervin that he and the teen did talk and text “off and on” when she was upset or having difficulties.
“I just don’t understand what she would have said,” Conrad said to the detectives. He added that another teacher had told him “you better keep her away from you. She is following you around like a puppy dog.”
Looking back, he told the detective that he should have listened.
“I am sure things could have been said that she misconstrued,” Conrad said in the interview.
The trial will continue Wednesday with defense witnesses.
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