by: Riley Yates
It started when his Nazareth Area Middle School drama teacher began rubbing his shoulders, supposedly to relieve his stress. Then the teacher started rubbing his back, his chest, his legs and the inside of his thighs.
For two years, starting when he was 11, a “well-adjusted” and “remarkable” boy who loved the theater endured escalating sexual abuse at the hands of an educator he was supposed to trust, a Northampton County prosecutor said Friday.
But though the boy was “completely repulsed, overwhelmed and embarrassed” by what was happening to him, he had the courage to report Shawn W. Salevsky to school officials, realizing that the assaults were only getting worse, Assistant District Attorney Patricia Broscius said.
Salevsky admitted to statutory sexual assault, indecent assault and corrupting a minor for offenses that Upper Nazareth Township police said began in January 2011 and continued into March of this year.
The boy told authorities that most of the abuse occurred in the drama room during school hours, when Salevsky would lock the door with just the two of them inside, according to court records.
On one occasion, Salevsky pulled the boy’s head down so it touched the teacher’s genitals. Salevsky would unzip his and the boy’s pants and would try to lie on top of him, police said. Salevsky would also follow the boy into the bathroom and watch as he urinated, Broscius said.
Broscius said Salevsky bought his victim clothes and other gifts and told him not to tell anyone. It was in March that the boy finally confided to a friend, and with her help they reported it to a school counselor, Broscius said.
The abuse had gotten “to the point he can’t take it anymore,” Broscius said.
Salevsky was removed from the school March 18. The Nazareth Area School Board fired him in May, days before police filed charges.
On Friday, Superintendent Dennis Riker did not return a phone call seeking comment.
Salevsky, of Lower Macungie Township, remains free under $75,000 bail. Judge Paula Roscioli scheduled sentencing for Feb. 6.
The charges could carry up to 30 years in prison. Guidelines for the most serious — the statutory sexual assault — recommend a minimum sentence of anywhere from one to two years’ incarceration, defense attorney Marc Neff said.
In pleading guilty, Salevsky offered no explanation for what he did, telling Roscioli that he wants to reserve any statements until his sentencing.
He appeared to initially shy away from acknowledging that the account outlined by Broscius was true. But pressed by the judge, he admitted it was.
“The underlying facts are true,” Neff added on his client’s behalf.
The boy’s parents were in the courtroom for the hearing but did not speak publicly, other than to confirm for Broscius that their son is in counseling. Broscius said the plea agreement — in which she withdrew other sex offense charges — met with their approval.
Salevsky worked at the Nazareth Area Middle School for about three years. He previously worked at Holy Family Elementary School in Nazareth, Allen High School in Allentown and the Lehigh Valley Charter School for the Performing Arts in Bethlehem.
Outside the classroom, Salevsky appeared in a number of productions at the Civic Theatre of Allentown and participated in the Civic Theatre School for at least nine years, teaching drama to children in Grades 5 through 8.
Now, with his plea, he’ll be evaluated to determine whether he should be classified as a sexually violent predator.
This article was written by Riley Yates and originally published on mcall