SALAMANCA, N.Y. (WIVB) - An eighth grade science teacher and girls' soccer coach from Salamanca Middle School is facing felony sex abuse charges, and prosecutors say his victim was a 15-year-old female student.
The girl, now 16, was allegedly abused by the teacher, 39-year-old Shane Riethmiller, last year. On Friday, Riethmiller was arraigned and pleaded not guilty.
Riethmiller, a tenured teacher, is accused of exchanging sexual text messages and pictures with the student and of having sexual contact with her.
Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Det. Sgt. Ron Lott said, "There was some sexual contact between Riethmiller and the 15-year-old child."
The incidents allegedly took place during the last months of 2011. The district says the investigation began when some faculty members and students came forward with information.
Salamanca Schools Superintendent Robert Breidenstein said, "We talked to some faculty members and students that had first-hand knowledge of the information and then we spoke with the individual teacher in question and that person was placed immediately on administrative leave."
Riethmiller will remain on paid administrative leave through the legal proceedings. The charges have shocked the school system, according to Superintendent Breidenstein, who says the district is fully cooperating with authorities.
"Certainly whenever allegations call into question of any adult directed towards a child or near a child we are taking that very seriously," said Breidenstein.
Riethmiller had no comment as he exited the court. And a woman, believed to be his wife, grabbed the News 4 camera outside the courthouse. Riethmiller is now under an order not to contact his alleged victim in any manner.
Det. Sgt. Lott says this case is very disturbing, adding, "When something like this happens, especially when it's from somebody in power, such as a teacher, it's a very upsetting thing."
Riethmiller pleaded not guilty to two counts of disseminating indecent materials to minors, promotion of sexual performance of a child, endangering the welfare of a child, and third degree sex abuse.
When you look at the numbers, West Seneca and Tonawanda collect more money per capita than Amherst, which collects $2.6 million in court fines.
A car flipped onto its side during an accident on Dick Road in Depew between George Urban Boulevard and Walden.
In an effort to combat childhood obesity, a local school district is now banning a popular sweet treat.
Officers with three separate police agencies had to take cover early Wednesday morning when a man barricaded inside his home in Brant started shooting.
A sex offender has been arrested after he allegedly showed indecent material to a child under the age of 16.
Twenty-two-year-old Yaron Bernstein was last seen leaving a friend's apartment in Philadelphia three weeks ago. Bernstein has ties in Buffalo as well as Pittsburgh, Miami and New Jersey.