Three cases of alleged teacher misconduct across Western New York emerge - The Buffalo News

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Three cases of alleged teacher misconduct across Western New York emerge

In three separate cases that emerged Wednesday, teachers in Western New York were accused of allegedly initiating improper relationships with students.

Two of the individuals were arrested Tuesday.

Those arrested included a teacher at a parochial school in Amherst, who is accused of allegedly sending sexually explicit messages and photos to a 12-year-old student, according to authorities.

Also arrested was an Allegany County man who was accused of allegedly forcibly touching a student while he was teaching in Steuben County, authorities said.

In another development Wednesday, it became public that Nichols School had launched an investigation into an allegation that a former teacher at the Buffalo school had allegedly had an improper relationship with a student in the early 1990s.

Jeremy M. Jacobs Jr., chairman of Nichols, acknowledged in a statement Wednesday the receipt of a letter from a Nichols graduate detailing the alleged sexual relationship, followed by another letter from a student in the same class that supported those claims.

“We committed to the Nichols community that board and school leaders will treat these reports sensitively and with due respect and that we will move quickly and transparently to do what is right," Jacobs said in his statement. "We want to assure the community that we are committed to an honest self-examination of any issues that arise through this process.”

Nichols hired a Washington firm experienced in investigating school-based sexual misconduct.

Jacobs said in his statement that anyone who might have knowledge of inappropriate faculty-student relationships at Nichols, past or present, should contact the investigator.

The former Nichols faculty member who is being investigated left the school over a decade ago, according to school officials.

Nichols, whose 30-acre campus is on Amherst Street near Delaware Park, has 560 students in grades five through 12.

Also Wednesday, Scott Schaefer, 44, a teacher at St. Gregory the Great Elementary School in Amherst, was jailed after Amherst police accused him of allegedly sending sexually explicit messages and photos to a 12-year-old student, authorities said.

Schaefer was arrested Tuesday on charges of disseminating indecent materials to a minor, a felony and a misdemeanor count of endangering the welfare of a child, police said.

In Allegany County, Thomas M. Wight, 26, of Cuba, was arrested and charged by State Police on Tuesday in connection with an incident that allegedly occurred off school property while he was teaching at Arkport Central Schools in Steuben County, according to authorities.

Wight was accused of allegedly forcibly touching a 16-year-old student, according to authorities. He also was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, authorities said.

According to State Police, they were notified of a possible sexual abuse case on Saturday and found Wight had been communicating over Snapchat with a 16-year-old while he worked in Dansville in Livingston County.

Wight has previously taught in Cuba-Rushford and Fillmore Central schools, authorities said. School districts affected by the investigation have been notified, authorities said.

The investigation into the case against Wight is ongoing, authorities said.

In Allegany County, Wight was arraigned Wednesday in Friendship Town Court and remanded to the Allegany County Jail in lieu of $15,000 cash bail or $30,000 bond.

In Amherst, Schaefer was arraigned before Town Justice Geoffrey K. Klein. If convicted of the felony charge, he faces a possible four-year state prison term.

The judge entered a non-guilty plea on behalf of Schaefer and ordered him held on $25,000 cash bail or a $50,000 bail bond.

Klein scheduled further proceedings in the case for Tuesday.

News Staff Reporters Aaron Besecker, Matt Gryta and Mark Sommer contributed to this report.

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