The three R’s of education – reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmatic – were probably too old school for educator Charles Hurst.
The 37-year-old Lansdale man, with a haircut like Justin Bieber, texted some new priorities to a former 14-year-old male student over the summer: “remember ur week is run, [masturbate] and read in that order! Love you – goodnight!”
Hurst, who met the student in January 2009, when he was vice principal at Pennbrook Middle School in North Wales, told him that “masturbation is good and healthy and that it would help him grow and make him smarter and happy,” according to a Montgomery County affidavit of probable cause.
He also enticed the teen with extra money to masturbate and wanted to teach the teen’s younger brother how to do it.
Hurst was arrested Friday by Montgomery Township police and charged with endangering the welfare of a child, corruption of minors and cocaine possession, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office announced. The minor lives in the township, and police launched an investigation Sept. 17.
Soon after, Hurst allegedly wrote: “No joke buddy. Those 3 things need to get done. Were u able to [masturbate] since u got back?”
Police found the inappropriate texts – sent between July 2 and Aug. 9 – on the teen’s cell phone, the affidavit said.
When Hurst met with township police on Sept. 21, he reached deep for an explanation. “He insisted that his cell phone had a virus and that inappropriate text messages were sent” because of the virus, the affidavit said.
Hurst had become close to the family, and the teen’s mother considered him a “father figure,” according to the affidavit. Hurst spent time with the minor, working out, running, attending a Sixers game, playing ping-pong and going on ski trips.
In addition, Hurst requested to see the victim’s penis twice.
“If the charges are proven to be true, this is an extremely disturbing case,” said Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman. “He was someone who befriended the family and became a close personal friend of the child. The violation of trust is enormous on multiple levels.”
There are no other reports against Hurst, Ferman said, but she encourages anyone with information to contact the District Attorney’s office or police.
Hurst had worked 13 years in the North Penn School District until he resigned from Pennbrook in June to take a job with Murray Avenue School in the Lower Moreland Township School District, according to the districts.
Hurst began July 1 at the middle school, one day before the saucy texts started, and was placed on administrative leave Sept. 17 by Lower Moreland, according to a statement issued by district superintendent Marykay Feeley.
Feeley said that required background checks found that Hurst had no criminal or child abuse history.