A special education teacher in Pennsylvania is accused by police of having sex with a male student on more than one occasion inside her classroom.
Jordan Dominique Ondish, 24 of Washington Township, faces one count of institutional sexual assault after officials at Summit Academy in Butler County located a cell phone from a male student that indicated the two had a sexual relationship. Police say that Ondish purchased the phone for the student so they could communicate privately. Ondish has since been fired from her job, which she held for about four months.
Here’s what you need to know about Ondish and the allegations against her:
1. Ondish Allegedly Bought a Cell Phone for a Student So They Could Communicate Discreetly
Police say that the sexual encounters between Ondish and the student took place at Summit Academy, a private school with an all-male population ranging from 14- to 19-years old.
A criminal complaint said that officials from the school previously warned Ondish about her behavior before charges were officially filed. They were spurred when staff at the school located a cell phone in the student’s room. It was confiscated by staff because students at Summit Academy aren’t allowed to have cell phones. Ondish gave the victim the cell phone so they could use it to talk privately, police said.
Court documents indicate that Ondish said she was previously in an abusive relationship and wanted to talk to the student about that relationship, allegedly noting that her relationship with the student eventually grew to an emotional level.
Police said that school officials contacted them November 27 after looking through the phone, accusing Ondish of providing the student the phone three days prior while they were alone inside her classroom. Investigators found explicit conversations between the two and interviewed the victim, who allegedly told police that he and Ondish had sex more than one time inside her classroom in the weeks that led up to Thanksgiving.
2. Summit Academy Said Ondish Has Been Terminated From Her Position
Court documents said that Ondish was hired by Summit Academy in June to work as a special education instructor, meaning she’d been victim’s teacher for about four months.
Staff at the school previously issued Ondish a warning about “protecting her personal space” after she was seen alone with a student in the hallway, a violation of school rules. However, she didn’t adhere to the notice, TribLive.com reported.
School officials accuse Ondish of violating three rules at the facility: Having the student sit next to her at her desk; allowing him inside her classroom after school hours; and signing the student “out” without other students with her.
Summit Academy has released a statement, saying that Ondish was fired after the conversations were found.
The administration at Summit Academy was made aware of an inappropriate relationship between a teacher and a student and it was immediately reported to the state police. The teacher was then terminated.
3. Ondish Is Scheduled to Appear in Court Again in February
Ondish was arraigned by District Court Judge Lewis E. Stoughton on December 4, and she was released on $30,000 non-monetary bond pending her preliminary hearing February 13.
Ondish’s attorney Kevin Abramovitz didn’t respond for request for comment by KDKA News and other outlets.
Pennsylvania state law states that Ondish’s charge, institutional sexual assault, is a third-degree felony. There’s also institutional sexual assault of a minor, which indicates that the student believed to have a relationship with Ondish isn’t a minor.
If convicted of the charge, Ondish could face a prison sentence of up to seven years and a fine of up to $15,000.
4. Ondish Was Engaged to Be Married in 2016
Since the charges were publicized, Ondish removed many of her social media accounts. However, a wedding registry indicates that she was engaged to be married over one year ago. She and John Adams were set to be married October 15, 2016 in Irwin, Pennsylvania, though it’s not clear if the two officially tied the knot. A tweet indicates that Adams is a military member and was deployed in 2013.
Ondish also had a Twitter account which she only tweeted from once. Posts and re-tweets indicate she’s a fan of the country music artist Carrie Underwood.
5. Summit Academy Is Intended for Youths Ordered There by Courts
According to its website, Summit Academy is located on 125 acres in Butler County, Pennsylvania. It’s intended for court-adjudicated youth in grades 9-12 and offers “multi-faceted, interweaving academics, counseling, trades training and athletics. It provides the transforming environment and unwavering support juvenile offenders need to redirect their lives.”
Students at the school are to dress in uniform, including a sport coat, an oxford-weave shirt, tie, khaki pants and loafers.
“Our young men are treated like gentlemen,” the website said. “Apart from the temptations and trouble from which they came, they flourish. Surrounded by support and encouragement, they excel.”