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Charter school board holds meeting to discuss ex-principal dismissal, arrest

Published: Friday, Dec. 7 2012 7:22 p.m. MST

David Sullivan, chairman of the Soldier Hollow Charter School Board, addressed concerned parents in Heber City on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012. Charles Edward Weber, 65, of South Jordan, is facing six counts of forcible sodomy, a first-degree felony, stemming from allegations that he sexually abused a 15-year-old student between January and August of this year while he was principal of the Midway charter school.

Jay Dortzbach, Deseret News

HEBER CITY — Hundreds of parents filled a community center Thursday night to find out what school and law enforcement officials knew about a former charter school principal accused of sexually abusing young boys.

Charles Edward Weber, 65, of South Jordan, is facing six counts of forcible sodomy, a first-degree felony, stemming from allegations that he sexually abused a 15-year-old student in Midway between January and August of this year while he was principal of Soldier Hollow Charter School. The abuse stopped just before the boy turned 16, according to court documents.

Two separate incidents involving Weber at Soldier Hollow were revealed during the meeting of board members and parents Thursday night.

"We were never made aware of any sexual indiscretion or conduct or an allegation," said David Sullivan, chairman of the Soldier Hollow Charter School Board. "I was first made aware of this when I first got a phone call from the investigators last week."

Some parents had alleged that the board was aware of some misconduct. Sullivan said the Wasatch County Sheriff's Office looked into an allegation of misconduct shortly before Weber was fired. 

"(It was) a suspicious, kind of uncomfortable situation," Sullivan said. "The sheriff’s department, as I understand, investigated it, reported back that there was no impropriety."

School officials said the first incident involved an inappropriate conversation Weber had with a young adult vendor at the school over the summer. The other involved a witness who saw Weber and a student leaving a bathroom together in July. Both happened at the school, Sullivan said.

Parents of students at the school have been upset over the developments of the past week, but most at the meeting appeared to be satisfied with the board's explanation that it wasn't aware of any wrongdoing.

"I think I can see from their sincerity, the board and the teachers, there would have been no way they would have wanted to hide a pedophile or make excuses for Mr. Weber and his behavior," said Eric Carlson, who has two children enrolled at the school.

Soldier Hollow was given the national distinction of being a 2011 Blue Ribbon School, an honor given to public and private schools across the country that excel year after year.

Amid a scandal of sexual abuse, school officials and parents say they're hoping to move forward.

"I think (the school board) did a very good job of putting minds at ease, letting us know they've done everything," parent Michele Mounteer said. "Now it's in the hands of the authorities, and Chuck's behind bars."

Weber had been an educator for more than 40 years and was principal of the Midway school since 2005 before he was fired in August. State school officials would not say why he was fired but indicated that it was not because of sexual misconduct.

When investigators interviewed Weber on Nov. 29, he "admitted to sexually abusing several young boys over the past 35 years," according to a police affidavit filed Monday in 4th District Court.

The case against Weber began when a 48-year-old man went to FBI agents and said Weber molested him between 1975 and 1977. He said the abuse began when he was 11 years old and Weber was his elementary school teacher, the police affidavit states. The allegations involving that former student remain under investigation, and no charges have been filed in that case.

Weber remains in the Wasatch County Jail on $1 million bond.

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