|Former PEVS student alleges rape by teacher, requests memorial removal UPDATED|
|Wednesday, April 30, 2014 9:22 AM|
By JOE SHOUSE • Progress Correspondent
OAKWOOD – It was a very emotional night at the Paulding Exempted Village School board meeting on Tuesday, April 29. Oakwood Elementary School hosted the regular monthly meeting in the cafeteria before a large crowd, including two Fort Wayne television stations. Barry Vance, a graduate of PHS was given his allotted time to share a deep concern that he has been dealing with since 1982 when he was an eighth grader.
Vance stood before the school board and superintendent Bill Hanak and in detail graphically explained how one teacher allegedly attacked him.
“One day at school, the eighth grade history teacher locked the door to the paper cutting room and wrestled me to the floor and molested me,” said Vance. He went on to say, “I remember that day when I came home a scared teenage boy, who went to the bathroom, cleaned myself up, and then hid.”
Vance, who is now 46 years old, never had told his wife, Dorrean, the details of his ordeal and while he shared the tragic events during the school board meeting, she was hearing it for the first time.
Vance, whose voice quivered as he paced back and forth when speaking to the school board, never once mentioned the teacher in question. However, in a conversation with Vance following the board meeting, he said it was Don Schnepp. The veteran middle school teacher and coach died in 2004.
After sharing the alleged details of the incident, Vance asked the board to consider removing the large memorial rock that is near the middle school entrance that honors Schnepp.
“I asked to have this removed back in December and it was rejected. Tonight, I come to you asking you to have a little consideration. I’m still the 14-year-old boy that has lived with this for 32 years.”
In his closing remarks to the board, Vance told them how everything was taken away from him that day. When asked why he now is coming forward he said, “After 32 years I just got so tired of holding it all inside. There are other victims, at least two, and it’s time for me to have peace and closure.”
The board did not comment nor discuss Vance’s allegations or request after he finished speaking.
At the close of the meeting, there was no comment from the board as to what steps will be taken or if the memorial rock will be removed.
In a telephone interview Wednesday morning, Hanak said school officials have made no decisions.
“I feel horrible that anything like this would happen to any child. There’s no excuse. It’s sickening,” he said.
“I’ve talked to (Vance) a couple of times with this,” Hanak said. He has investigated information and names Vance has given him. “I can’t come up with anything to corroborate what he said happened. ... Maybe out of all this, someone else will come forward.”
Hanak added, “I would listen to anything anyone wants to say. There may be others out there. That’s my job, to get to the bottom of this.”
Any information would be kept confidential. The superintendent may be reached at 419-399-4656 or by email at email@example.com.
Hanak noted that a committee has been meeting to discuss how to use a $280,000 bequest Schnepp’s late sister left to the school in his memory for the benefit of the middle school.
The memorial rock was purchased by teachers; however, the school board has the power to remove it. Any such decision would come before the board at a meeting.
“It’s a very delicate situation. It has to be handled with sensitivity to do the right thing,” Hanak said.