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Earhart teacher arrested for alleged child exploitation

A staff member at Amelia Earhart Elementary School has been arrested after LPD investigation

Posted: Mar. 9, 2018 11:16 AM
Updated: Mar. 10, 2018 4:06 PM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — A staff member at Amelia Earhart Elementary School has been arrested after a Lafayette Police Department investigation. According to LPD, 46-year-old Joe Kimerer was arrested around 10 a.m. Friday morning at his home. He faces 13 felony charges including vicarious sexual gratification (Level 4 Felony), child exploitation with intent to satisfy sex desires (Level 5 Felony), child solicitation (Level 5 Felony) and inappropriate communication with a child. 

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Related: Amelia Earhart Elementary staff member under investigation

The Lafayette Police Department Detective Division, along with Lafayette Police School Resource Officers, Tippecanoe County Prosecutors Office High Tech Crimes Unit, and Lafayette School Corporation officials, initiated a child abuse investigation involving an Amelia Earhart school teacher on February 27. The complaint centered on reports of suspicious activity involving child exploitation and child solicitation. The investigation found multiple male victims ranging in ages 12 – 13 years old with many of the alleged incidents occurred inside the school, during school hours.

In a released statement, Lafayette School Corporation Superintendent Les Huddle said: 
"On Tuesday, February 27, 2018 it was brought to the attention of the Lafayette School Corporation administration that Earhart 4th grade teacher Mr. Joe Kimerer may have been acting in an inappropriate manner with school-age children. The Department of Child Services and the Lafayette Police Department were immediately contacted and the teacher was removed from the classroom and school the same day and assigned to his home. Building access was revoked and the teacher has not been back at Earhart since that day.

An investigation was launched by the authorities which has resulted in the arrest of Mr. Kimerer today. Simultaneously, the district began its own investigation and is currently engaged in an employment termination process with the teacher.

We understand that these allegations will be very troubling to anyone who might have an association with Mr. Kimerer. The allegations are of the utmost gravity in that they implicate unprofessional conduct by a teacher towards a student. While this report is alarming, we want every parent and student to know that we will continue to provide a safe and nurturing environment for all students at Earhart Elementary and for all schools within the Lafayette School Corporation."

In a previous story, Lafayette School Corporation Superintendent Les Huddle told WLFI a staff member was on administrative leave. The staff member was not identified. Huddle sent out a letter to parents several weeks ago. The letter says, "The staff member has been reassigned to home during the investigation and will not be back at Earhart until all allegations and issues are resolved. The Lafayette School Corporation considers the safety of children it's top priority. "

The investigation is on-going and police ask anyone with further information or further victims related to this incident contact the Lafayette Police Department Detective Division at (765) 807-1250.

WLFI will continue to follow the story and will have more information, including a reaction from Lafayette School Corporation Superintendent Les Huddle on News 18 at 5 and 6.