Ex-Summit Christian Teacher Arrested in Student Sex Case
By Tanya Wragg
Palm Beach Post
March 6, 2006
WEST PALM BEACH — In their eyes, he was a hero.
And for at least one, second best after God.
But on Saturday, Chad Stoffel, a former math and music teacher at Summit Christian School, fell from grace.
The 29-year-old was arrested after police say he confessed to having sex with a 16-year-old Wellington Christian School student, a 16-year-old Summit Christian School student and molesting two children in Broward County.
Despite the confession, for now Stoffel is only facing four counts of unlawful sexual activity and four counts of battery of a child for the encounters he had with the Wellington Christian student.
Detectives and police in Broward County are investigating the other claims. State records show it is his first arrest.
According to an aest affidavit, Palm Beach County sheriff's Detective Robert Falbe learned about Stoffel's relationship with the Wellington teen on Feb. 1, when a counselor at a religious retreat in Memphis called and told him Stoffel admitted to molesting numerous young boys in South Florida.
The retreat, Love In Action International, is dedicated to "restoring those trapped in sexual and relational sin," its Web site says.
The counselor also said Stoffel reported himself to the state's abuse hot line, the report said.
Falbe met with Stoffel in Memphis, where Stoffel confessed he had molested one of his students at Summit Christian for two years, starting when the child was 14. Stoffel also said he molested two boys in Broward County when he was about 18 or 19, the report said.
Falbe said Stoffel told him he met the 16-year-old Wellington teen in early October at a community theater.
Six weeks into the production, Stoffel had to learn several lines. The 16-year-old offered to help him rehearse his script and they went to a nea
y Subway restaurant for coffee, according to the affidavit.
They did this a few nights, get-togethers which eventually progressed into lengthy phone calls. During the next month, Stoffel picked up the teen four times and they had consensual sex each time in parking lots, including those at Summit Christian and Wellington Christian, the report said.
Two days after their last meeting, Stoffel told police the boy's father called him and told him to turn himself in to his pastor or he would call the police, the report said.
Police said the 16-year-old later confirmed Stoffel's stories with a few discrepancies.
Falbe said he handed information on the Broward molestations to the Pembroke Pines Police Department.
Pembroke Pines police spokesman David Golt said he could not access information on the case because the department does not have a 24-hour records department and detectives do not work weekends.
Summit Christian is an interdenominational K-12 school with about 650 students. The school's Web site listed Stoffel as a math and music teacher and head coach for the boys junior varsity basketball team early Sunday.
Following his arrest and subsequent media inquiries Sunday afternoon, Stoffel was cropped from a photo of the team and the assistant coach was listed as the head coach on the Web site. The school also removed Stoffel's name from its teacher directory.
A woman who said she was a secretary at the school said Stoffel had not worked there since December.
She would not give her name and said she was asked by a school administrator to respond to media requests. She did not know if Stoffel resigned or was fired.
"We don't have all the facts and we don't want to speculate," she said. "Schools officials are investigating the matter. As soon as we get more information, we will be putting out a press release."
Repeated calls to Headmaster Sam Skelton and other school administrators Sunday were not returned.
Teenagers listed Stoffel as one of their heroes on at least two online blogs at MySpace.com, a popular Web site.
"God is a pretty cool guy... Then Chad Stoffel," wrote one 16-year-old girl on the site.
"Mr. Stoffel was a favorite among the students at Summit Christian," a junior at Summit Christian told The Palm Beach Post in an e-mail Sunday. "Almost everyone liked him, his classes and hanging out in the music room.
He was a good friend to many of us and we are all disappointed in him. Don't get me wrong. We still love him, but we are let down and saddened by his bad decisions."
Stoffel was released Sunday on $25,000 bond.
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.