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Sexual assault victim alleges school district didn’t act fast enough after she reported abuse

Published: Feb. 25, 2022 at 9:45 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The former band director with the Solon City School District was sentenced to prison Thursday after pleading guilty to more than a dozen sex crimes involving former students.

A judge sentenced Edward Kline to over three years in prison.

Some of his victims spoke in court, including one woman who said the school district did not act fast enough.

19 Investigates wanted to know from Solon City Schools whether they took immediate action after receiving her complaint.

The victim said she anonymously reported the abuse in 2015 after graduating.

But she said nothing happened, so three years after that report, she went to the school district.

That’s when she said she revealed her identity to administrators and reported it again.

She said on the stand that the principal had a transcript of the voicemail she had left back in 2015.

“We went over it together and this time I felt I had been heard and believed. But to my dismay, authority figures let me down again,” the victim said.

Under state law, educators must report any allegations of abuse.

So we went to Solon City Schools to find out more about what happened.

The school district’s communication director said the superintendent was not available for an interview.

But they released a statement, saying “All required reports to the authorities were made in this situation.”

After the 2015 anonymous report to the hotline, the district said they “attempted to follow up with the individual for more information.”

When the victim reached out again in March 2018, the district said “the information from the 2018 interview as well as the anonymous report was provided immediately to the Solon Police Department.”

The district said they also submitted a report to the Ohio Department of Education.

A document obtained by 19 Investigates shows the district concluded its internal investigation in May 2018 and Kline resigned a few weeks later.

We checked with Solon Police and they said the school district first reported the student’s allegations about the band teacher in 2018, three years after her anonymous tip to the helpline.

Solon City Schools released hundreds of pages of documents to us regarding this case.

Our investigative team is poring through them and we’ll let you know what we find.

Here is the full statement from Solon City Schools:

Yesterday, we learned the sentence imposed for Ed Kline, the former Solon band teacher, and director, who had pleaded guilty to multiple charges related to inappropriate contact with students several years ago. We are grateful to law enforcement and the prosecutors for their hard work.

The district did receive an anonymous report in 2015 and attempted to follow up with the individual for more information. That individual reached back out in 2018. The information from the 2018 interview as well as the anonymous report was provided immediately to the Solon Police Department and the district fully cooperated throughout the entire investigation. Additionally, the district submitted a report to the Ohio Department of Education Division of Educator Misconduct.

The district takes issues of student safety very seriously and our staff members are mandatory reporters of inappropriate behavior. All required reports to the authorities were made in this situation.

Students and families are urged to immediately report health or safety concerns of any kind to the school and/or law enforcement. Confidential reports can also be made using Solon’s Safe School Helpline (1-800-418-6423, ext. 359, or text TIPS to 614-426-0240) at any time.

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