Teacher assault case held for court
Dale C. Schimpf is escorted from the office of District Judge Stephen J. Bayer on Tuesday by Tamaqua Police officer Ryan Poeldnurk, along with Schimpf’s attorney Christine Holman. LISA PRICE/TIMES NEWS
A music educator accused of sex crimes against a minor is headed to trial in Schuylkill County Court, Magisterial District Judge Stephen J. Bayer ruled Tuesday.
Dale C. Schimpf, 71, Frackville, was arrested Feb. 25 by Tamaqua Police and charged with felony statutory sexual assault, indecent sexual deviate intercourse by forcible compulsion, indecent sexual deviate intercourse with a person less than 16 and corruption of minors; and misdemeanor charges of indecent exposure and indecent assault on a person less than 16. Police arrested Schimpf in the band room of Nativity B.V.M. school, Pottsville.
According to the police arrest report, Schimpf engaged in conversation with a 13-year-old boy from Tamaqua through a phone app called Grindr. He picked up the boy in Tamaqua and took him to his home in Frackville, where he initiated sex acts with the boy.
During the preliminary hearing Tuesday, Schimpf’s attorney Christine Holman and Assistant District Attorney Jen Foose agreed to dropping one charge — indecent sexual deviate intercourse by forcible compulsion — and downgrading the corruption of minors charge from a felony 3 to a misdemeanor 1.
Through Holman, Schimpf pleaded not guilty to the remaining charges. Schimpf did not speak during the proceedings.
Arresting officer Tamaqua Cpl. Thomas Rogers was the only person to testify during the hearing. In response from a question from Foose, Rogers said that the victim “will be available for all court proceedings.” Foose asked no further questions.
Holman repeatedly asked Rogers questions about the timing of Schimpf’s videotaped interview with police, asking if the Miranda warning had been read to him before the interview began. She also asked Rogers if he felt Schimpf understood the Miranda statement standard form, which he signed. Rogers said Schimpf had no questions about the Miranda warning, either as stated out loud or on the written form.
Through her line of questions, Holman seemed to be laying the groundwork for portraying Schimpf as intimidated by the interview session. She asked Rogers if Schimpf was kept handcuffed, if he knew he was being videotaped, and how many police officers were present during questioning. She asked if the police officers were in uniform — Rogers replied that they were — and she asked if Schimpf knew they were police officers.
Holman also asked questions about the video camera.
“Did you stop recording at any time?” Holman asked Rogers.
Rogers explained that the camera’s internal setup allows it to create “clips” which are about 20 minutes long. When the camera does that, there is a small pause on the video, but the recording doesn’t stop, he said. Rogers said that the interview with Schimpf lasted about 50 minutes.
Noting the length of time for the interview, Holman asked if Schimpf had asked for a break, said at any time that he wanted to stop or indicated that he was confused about the questions. She also asked Rogers if police had used “a mild tone” of voice during the questioning, and if Schimpf had remained in the same chair.
On redirect, Foose asked Rogers what Schimpf had admitted to (during the interview). Rogers said that Schimpf admitted he had met the victim at least two other times and had sexual contact. Foose said the prosecution would “rest on evidence.”
Bayer noted the amendments to the charges and said that the prosecution had met its burden of proof. Bail conditions would remain the same and the remaining charges are bound for court, Bayer said.
Schimpf has been incarcerated in protective custody at Schuylkill County Prison since his arrest, unable to make bail despite a change in bail conditions. Bayer handled the preliminary arraignment and set bail at $100,000 straight cash; Schimpf petitioned the court for bail reduction April 5 and had the conditions changed to 10% of $100,000 but has not posted bail.