A longtime Bishop Carroll Catholic High School teacher faces a dozen charges, accused of having inappropriate contact with two 15-year-old girls in Harrisburg in March.
Harrisburg’s State Capital Police Department filed the charges Monday, saying James Ernest Luksik, 68, of Johnstown, had unlawful contact with the students during a March 25 class trip to the state Capitol building.
Police said a student said Luksik, on one occasion, rubbed his genital area against a seated student while he was heading down the bus aisle and stated “you are gorgeous” as he passed by.
On another, a female student allegedly told police Luksik patted her butt as she walked past.
Luksik teaches history and geography at the private school, according to Bishop Carroll’s website, but the school’s CEO, Lynn Weber, indicated Luksik was placed on leave in March after school officials learned of the allegations against him.
“Bishop Carroll learned of the charges filed against the individual August 12, when we were contacted by a media outlet seeking comment,” Weber said in a statement to The Tribune-Democrat.
Luksik faces two charges each of sexual contact with a student, a third-degree felony; unlawful contact; corruption of minors; and indecent assault, as well as additional counts of indecent assault with a person under the age of 16 and harassment, his online criminal docket shows.
Capitol police said they were alerted about alleged inappropriate contact during the trip through a report to the state’s Safe2Say hotline three days after the March trip to Harrisburg. Students allegedly wrote that Luksik regularly made inappropriate jokes about female students, or their older siblings whom he called “hot,” and that Luksik often petted their hair or stood close to them and touched them.
Capitol Police are tasked with monitoring and patrolling the state Capitol Complex in downtown Harrisburg, which includes Pennsylvania’s appellate courtrooms and the House and Senate chambers.
Bishop Carroll’s Facebook page indicated that dozens of the school’s students toured the state Capitol on the day the crimes are alleged to have been committed.
Weber said school officials were unaware that charges were filed earlier this week, but added that the school learned of the allegations through the Safe2Say app in March and took action afterward.
“As always, the safety of our students is our number one priority, and it is our intent to cooperate fully if and when we are contacted by authorities,” she said.
Weber said the school could not provide additional comment.
Investigators indicated they did communicate with the school earlier in their investigation.
In a four-page signed affidavit, Capitol Police Christopher Cruz said school principal Lori Ratchford initially alerted Cambria County Children and Youth Services about the incident, adding that he followed up and spoke with her during the first week of April.
Cruz also wrote that he sought a warrant for Luksik’s arrest after meeting with several female students at the high school for interviews on May 3.
Charges against Luksik were filed Monday before Dauphin County Magisterial District Judge David O’Leary.
A preliminary hearing date has not yet been scheduled, online court documents show.