Teacher accused of sexual misconduct at Pa. Capitol touched students’ buttocks, made lewd comments: police

By Sean Sauro And Charles Thompson
Penn Live
August 13, 2019

A Catholic high school teacher from Cambria County who is facing charges of sexual misconduct in the state Capitol is accused of touching two female students on the buttocks and making lewd comments.

That’s according to charging documents filed by Pennsylvania Capitol Police against James E. Luksik, 68, of Johnstown who faces a dozen charges in Dauphin County, including six felonies.

Luksik — who teaches history, geography and sociology at Bishop Carroll Catholic High School in Ebensburg, Cambria County — is the husband of prominent Pennsylvania conservative activist Peg Luksik, who ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor in 2018.

James Luksik was placed on leave from the school after the accusations against him were made in March, a Bishop Carroll official confirmed.

James Luksik is accused of indecently assaulting two students while accompanying them on a March 25 field trip to the Capitol, according to charging documents.

A post on Bishop Carroll Catholic High School’s Facebook page shows that a group of freshmen visited the Capitol Building in Harrisburg on that date.

In April, Capitol police were contacted by Cambria County Children & Youth officials who said two female students had reported that James Luksik touched them on the buttocks during the trip, according to the charging documents.

Police said they then spoke with the school’s principal, Lorie Ratchford, who said school officials received a tip claiming that James Luksik had been making inappropriate comments about past students, calling one “hot” and one “a total babe.”

He also was accused of inappropriate contact with the students — petting their heads, touching their buttocks and standing very closely behind them while on the field trip, according to the complaint. Ratchford reported the tip to Cambria County Children & Youth, police said.

On separate dates, police were able to interview two girls making accusations against James Luksik. Both reported that the teacher was known for touching girls and for making sexually explicit jokes in front of students, police said. That behavior continued on the school trip to the Capitol, the girls reported, according to police.

James Luksik was a chaperone on the trip, police said.

One of the girls said that James Luksik “open-hand patted her butt" as she passed through a doorway in the Capitol, according to police. Police said surveillance footage from the Capitol on the date of the trip was reviewed.

The footage did not show the reported physical contact, but it showed the girl passing through a doorway as she “rapidly sidesteps and turns around, looking back,” police said.

“A short time later, Luksik is seen walking through the doorway after the last student,” police said.

The second girl told police she believed James Luksik touched her “thigh to butt area” on the trip while taking a tour of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court chambers, police said.

Online court documents show that James Luksik faces two felony counts each of sexual contact with a student, unlawful contact with a minor and corruption of minors. He also faces two misdemeanor counts each of indecent assault without consent and indecent assault of a person younger than 16. That all is in addition to two summary harassment charges.

Those charges were filed in District Judge David O’Leary’s office. On Tuesday, a clerk at the office said an attorney representing James Luksik had contacted district court officials. However, that attorney had not officially entered his appearance, so his name could not be shared.

Multiple attempts to reach James Luksik Monday and Tuesday were unsuccessful.

Bishop Carroll CEO Lynn Weber said school officials learned of the charges filed against James Luksik Monday after being contacted by local media.

“Bishop Carroll has not been contacted by law enforcement and cannot provide further comment,” Weber said. “As always, the safety of our students is our number one priority and it is our intent to cooperate fully if and when we are contacted by authorities.”

The Bishop Carroll school is in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church.

James Luksik’s wife, Marguerite “Peg” Luksik, is an anti-abortion activist who surprised the state’s political world when her grassroots campaign for governor won 46 percent of the 1990 Republican primary vote in a two-way contest with Barbara Hafer.

That race gave Peg Luksik permanent luster in the state’s conservative political firmament, and she won nearly 13 percent of the vote while running as the Constitution Party’s candidate for governor in 1994.

But she has never come close to replicating her success in subsequent campaigns for political office.



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