A judge issued a warrant for the arrest Friday of a Pennsylvania high school choral teacher who has been charged with allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old female student.
Police in New Wilmington Borough charged Olivia Lois Ortz, 26, of Hermitage, Pennsylvania, with two counts of intercourse/sexual contact with a school student, and one count each of unlawful contact with a minor for sexual offenses and criminal use of a communication facility – all felony-level charges, New Castle News reported Monday.
Ortz, who was secretary of the Shenango Valley Chorale, turned herself in Monday after singing with the group for its 50th anniversary concert Sunday in Sharon.
District Judge Rick Russo arraigned Ortz and committed her to Lawrence County Jail, from which she was released after posting a $150,000 bond.
Ortz’s husband, Cody Ortz, informed school officials after a trip to Florida that he had discovered his wife’s alleged relationship with the teen, the criminal complaint noted, according to New Castle News.
Ortz’s husband, though not an employee of the school district, had directed Wilmington High School’s musical this year. He reportedly said he found correspondence between his wife and the female student on an iPad. Both Ortz’s husband and the school made a report of the matter to Childline, which then alerted police.
Police reportedly determined that Ortz and the student communicated via Spotify, and had posted over 100 messages on the music streaming platform.
The two had created a code word to alert each other “in case something went wrong or ‘something bad’ happened with either of them,” the news report of the complaint stated.
Police interviewed the female student, who admitted she had stayed overnight at Ortz’s home on several occasions, including April 7, 8, and 9, when her husband was not at home. She reportedly told the police she and Ortz had physical romantic encounters.
When police met with the girl and her parents Monday, the student admitted she and Ortz continued to engage in communication, even after search warrants had been served on Ortz’s home on May 5. She reportedly said she and Ortz were in love and supported each other.
The student also reportedly said her father eventually took away her cellphone, iPad, and laptop.
Ortz, who was suspended from teaching when school officials learned of the allegations against her, has since resigned. She had been hired following the arrest of her predecessor, a Wilmington area high school music director who is awaiting trial on sexual-assault related charges.
New Castle News reported:
Her case follows a sex-related case filed in June 2020, by Lawrence County District Attorney detectives against Jonathan Priano, 37, the former band and music teacher at Wilmington High, who also is accused of misconduct with various students. Allegations are that he had an affinity for tickling the feet of his female students and having close, personal relationships with them.
CBS News in Pittsburgh reported Priano was accused of having inappropriate relationships with several female students.
Ortz is due to return to court May 25.
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Susan Berry, PhD, is national education editor at The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].