Popular former dean of students in Amherst accused of decades old sexual assault of student

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AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — A former Amherst Central School district student filed a Child Victims Act case against a former assistant principal and dean of students.

The anonymous accuser alleges that Jack Koch repeatedly sexually abused her beginning in 1981 in a role in which he functioned as a guidance counselor although that was not his official role.

Her lawsuit states that Koch counseled the 15-year-old ninth grade student who reported to him that she was a victim of a sexual assault.

The lawsuit states that Koch took advantage of the student during lengthy counselling sessions. She accused Koch of telling her that he could help with her anxiety and distress by personally giving her lessons in sex.

Paul Barr, the accuser’s attorney, said the abuse continued until the girl was at least 19.

Koch spent 35 years working for the Amherst school district. He retired in June 2007.

In 2012, the Amherst Alumni Foundation presented Koch with the Distinguished Educator Emeritus award giving to educators “who demonstrated excellence and a high level of commitment while in service to their students in the Amherst Central School District.”

He also received a service award in 2007 from the high school student council, which gave him a three-minute standing ovation, according to a news article published in the Amherst Bee.

Koch moved to Canisteo, New York, a few years ago.

Sara A. Johnson, Koch’s attorney, sent a prepared statement Friday that said: ” Mr. Koch denies these false allegations and will vigorously defend his reputation.”

The Amherst Central School District also released a statement Friday that said it became aware this week of “troubling allegations regarding the conduct of a former District employee occurring more than 35 years ago.”

“The former employee at issue retired from the District more than 10 years ago,” wrote Amherst Superintendent Anthony Panella.

“The District is undertaking all appropriate steps in response to this information.  The District has no higher priority than ensuring the safety and welfare of the District’s students, and is confident in the policies and procedures that are currently in place to protect the District’s students.”

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