A Pennsylvania music teacher is accused of sexually abusing a 17-year-old girl. Olivia Lois Ortz, 26, allegedly engaged in what was described as an inappropriate physical romantic relationship, according to New Castle News. Her husband stepped forward with claims after discovering incriminating messages, officers said.
Ortz is the second music teacher at Wilmington High School charged with sexual abuse since 2020. Former band and music teacher Jonathan Anthony Priano, 37, allegedly engaged in inappropriate physical contact with female students, groping them and tickling their feet. Ortz had been Priano’s replacement, according to CBS affiliate KDKA.
Ortz, who taught chorus, resigned on May 9 after initially getting suspended with pay, Wilmington Superintendent Dr. Terence P. Meehan said.
Her husband, who reportedly did not work for the district but directed the school’s musical this year, contacted school officials on returning home from a Florida trip, according to the criminal complaint obtained by New Castle News. He learned about his wife’s abusive relationship on finding an iPad featuring correspondence between her and the student, documents stated.
“He believed that it was an adult male that she was having a relationship with,” New Wilmington Borough Police Chief Carmen Piccirillo told KDKA. “She told him it wasn’t what he thought. What certainly turned out to be accurate. And she ended up admitting that the letter was from a female student.”
Cops claimed there were texts and more than 100 Spotify messages between teacher a minor student. Ortz and the student set up a code word to warn each other in case something went bad, officers said.
Going by official allegations, the girl treated this as a consensual romantic relationship. She told cops she visited Ortz’s home several times while the husband was out, according to the complaint. She allegedly stayed overnight, and the two had what officers reportedly described as physical romantic encounters.
She had a follow-up interview involving her parents on Monday, officers said.
Officers executed search warrants on Ortz’s home on May 5, but the girl allegedly said she and Ortz kept communicating after that because they loved one another and had to support each other. Her father took her electronic devices: phone, iPad and laptop. She stayed overnight at Ortz’s home on April 7, 8, and 9, maintaining a sexual relationship over this period, officers said.
Ortz is charged 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. She surrendered at the advice of her attorney, Chief Piccirillo said. Ortz bonded out of Lawrence County Jail on $150,000.
A criminal case is also pending against the aforementioned former teacher Jonathan Priano, who faces charges of institutional sexual assault, unlawful contact with minors, corruption of minors, and endangering the welfare of children. A former student, now 25 and married, testified in a pre-trial hearing in March that Priano would grope her and tickled her feet in encounters stretching from when she was 16 to 18, according to the News. These began when they became “super close” after a classmate passed away.
“He had me go over to his apartment,” she said. Encounters happened there, his car, and the school, she said.
In this incidents, which they ended up calling “rehearsal,” he would tickle her feet, she testified. He would tell her which kinds of shoes to wear, including black flats or heels. Priano, she said, would use items including a toothbrush or feather in addition to his fingers, and he would record it.
She testified they never engaged in sexual activity, though she told the court she could feel that he became aroused at times and also placed his hand up her shirt, touching her waistline or part of her bra.
“I didn’t want to lose our connection,” she said. “I felt like he made me feel kind of guilty, like I was being coerced.”
Priano rejected a plea offer of involving six to 23-and-a-half-months in jail, two years of probation, and 15 years on the sexual offender registry, prosecutors said.
[Booking photo via New Wilmington Police Department]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]