Chester County Officials have announced the arrest of a principal for corruption of minors, indecent assault, and related charges.
George James Symonds, 62, was the Head of School and a teacher at the Concept School, a private school in Chester County, at the time of these offenses. According to the Chester County District Attorney’s Office, the teenage victim was a student at the school.
District Attorney Hogan stated, “This defendant is every parent’s nightmare. Sexual predators try to find a way to get access to children. Unfortunately, a Head of School is in a prime position to exercise control over and manipulate children. Children should be safe at school, not subject to sexual abuse by somebody who is in a position of trust.”
Symonds has been a teacher at the Concept School since 2004 and the Head of School, a position equivalent to principal, since 2012.
Symonds has been terminated by the Concept School and the school is cooperating fully with law enforcement. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in History from the University of Delaware and a Master’s Degree in Religion from the Lancaster Theological Seminary.
The Concept School is located in Thornbury Township, Chester County. The defendant previously taught at schools in Massachusetts and Delaware County, PA.
The allegations from the criminal complaint are as follows:
On June 29, 2015, the Westtown-East Goshen Police Department interviewed the victim. The victim reported that the defendant engaged in unlawful and inappropriate contact when the victim was between 14 and 15 years old from Spring of 2014 until Winter of 2015, all while the victim was attending the Concept School. The victim stated that between 8th and 9th grade, Symonds communicated with the victim almost daily through text messages, emails, and telephone calls. Police say Symonds told the victim that he loved the victim, taught the victim how to masturbate, and informed the victim that the defendant thought of the victim while he masturbated.
According to police, Symonds would arrange to meet the victim in his office and in the bathroom to “hug” on numerous occasions, and would tell the victim “not to fight the love.” While in the defendant’s office, the defendant cupped the victim’s buttocks with his hand. The defendant instructed the victim to delete all electronic communications between the two and told the victim not to tell anyone about their relationship. The defendant stated that he knew he could go to jail if people found out.
On Friday, July 3, 2015, Westtown-East Goshen Detectives, along with New Castle County Police, took Symonds into custody. He was taken before a judge in New Castle County, Delaware, and waived extradition to Pennsylvania. Detectives transported the defendant to MDJ William Kraut in Chester County, where bail was set at $100,000 (10%). Defendant posted bail and was released. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 9, 2015.
District Attorney Hogan added, “This defendant had access to other children, both here in Chester County and in other locations. As always with a case like this, we are concerned that there may be other victims. Anyone with information should come forward to the police so that the defendant can be held fully accountable.”
This case was investigated by the Westtown-East Goshen Police Department. Anyone with further information should contact Westtown-East Goshen Detective Jason Large at 610-692-9600.