Muhlenberg teacher, coach charged in child sex abuse case

Muhlenberg teacher, coach charged in child sex abuse case

READING, Pa. - A substitute teacher and field hockey coach in the Muhlenberg School District has been arrested on charges she had an inappropriate relationship with a young girl.

Jean Kleckner was charged Thursday with corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of children.

Kleckner, 47, of Muhlenberg Township, sexually abused a family friend in 2008 and 2009, said detectives with the Berks County district attorney's office, adding that the first incident occurred on a camping trip in the summer of 2008 when the girl was 16-years-old. At the time, detectives said Kleckner also provided the girl with alcohol.

The sexual abuse continued on a regular basis through the following summer, mostly at Kleckner's home, said detectives.

"I acted inappropriately," Kleckner told police in an interview at her home on Sept. 5, according to court documents. "She was 16. I can't put the blame on her."

While the girl attended and has since graduated from the Muhlenberg School District, in which Kleckner has worked as a substitute teacher since 2002, detectives indicated the relationship came about as a result of the family friendship and not through school.

"At this time, the district understands the alleged misconduct occurred off campus and involved only the previously mentioned student, who has since graduated from high school," said Theresa Haught, Muhlenberg's superintendent of schools.

Kleckner became the head coach of the junior high field hockey team this year, said Haught, who added that Kleckner has been suspended without pay from both her coaching and teaching positions, pending the outcome of the criminal investigation.

Kleckner has also been directed not to have contact with students, Haught said.

"We recognize the nature of such allegations and the potential for significant harm and will do all within our power to minimize any such harm and to prevent the abuse of our students," said Haught.

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