The Daily Democrat its taking its annual look at the year's top stories, as chosen by employees of the newspaper. This year, we've decided to stretch out the usual Top 10 to a Top 12 — or 12 in '12.
By J SWYGART
resignation and subsequent arrest of a former administrator at South Adams School was voted as the year's No. 9 story by employees of the Decatur Daily Democrat.
Former South Adams Elementary School Principal Brian L. Strauss resigned his position on October 3 after informing Superintendent Scott Litwiller that was under investigation for alleged acts of sexual misconduct at a school at which he had previously been employed.
A few days later, Strauss was charged in LaPorte County with carrying on an inappropriate sexual relationship with a former student in that county. According to the LaPorte County Sheriff's office, Strauss was arrested without incident by LaPorte County authorities at his home in Michigan City and initially was held on a $35,000 bond at LaPorte County Jail.
Strauss, 40, a former teacher at South Central Elementary School in LaPorte County, was charged with sexual misconduct with a minor, a Class B felony; sexual misconduct with a minor, a Class C felony; child solicitation, a Class C felony; and vicarious sexual gratification, a Class D felony.
“The arrest is the result of an investigation that was initiated after a complaint of an inappropriate relationship between the former educator and a former student was received by the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office,” the press release stated.
Strauss was employed by South Central Elementary School in Union Mills in LaPorte County. In October 2009, Strauss was listed as a sixth grade teacher at South Central Elementary. The information also noted that Strauss had 14 years experience at that time and had been employed 100 percent of the time.
Strauss became the South Adams Elementary principal prior to the 2010-2011 school year.
Strauss tendered his resignation to South Adams Superintendent of Schools Scott Litwiller on October 3. South Adams policy allows the superintendent to accept the resignation on behalf of the school board.
Litwiller said the investigation "does not involve (Strauss') work for or presence in South Adams Schools.”
Middle School Principal Jeff Rich assumed duties as elementary principal at South Adams on an interim basis.