Former drama director locked up on sexual assault charges

Shaw

The former drama club director of both the Sayre and Athens area school districts is in the Bradford County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail after he allegedly made sexual advances, made suggestive comments and inappropriately touched juveniles while he was employed by the districts.

According to Pennsylvania State Police, Justin Patrick Shaw, 38, of Waverly, was charged with six counts of institutional sexual assault, two counts of unlawful contact with minors and one count of corruption of minors — all grade-three felonies. He was also charged with four counts of corruption of minors, a grade-one misdemeanor; six counts of indecent assault, a grade-two misdemeanor; and three counts of harassment, a grade-three misdemeanor.

Police said the incidents occurred at various times last year at different locations, including his home in Waverly, a Sayre business and Shaw’s performing arts academy in Athens Borough.

According to police, interviews with approximately four victims aged 15 to 17 began after troopers were notified by an Athens Area Schools District official of possible inappropriate conduct committed by Shaw.

In two of those interviews, the male victims related to troopers that they would hang out with Shaw and, in some cases, stay over at Shaw’s residence or his business for the night. Shaw would also guilt the victims into hanging out with him by threatening to hurt himself, said police.

On several occasions, Shaw made sexual comments towards the victims and inappropriately touched one of them on multiple occasions, as well as forced one of the victims to touch him inappropriately. Additionally, Shaw made one of the victims list him as the victim’s godfather so Shaw could sign him out of school, police said.

In the other two victim interviews, Shaw made explicit sexual comments to multiple underage females, said police.

Officials from the Sayre Area School District could not be reached for comment Tuesday, while Athens officials declined to comment.

Shaw’s preliminary hearing before Magisterial District Court Judge Larry Hurley is scheduled for June 25.

Johnny Williams can be reached at (570) 888-9643 ext. 232 or jwilliams@morning-times.com.

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