A Fairfax County high school teacher resigned his job and lost his teaching license after he was investigated for allegedly supplying high school students on a trip to Germany with alcohol, encouraging them to drink to the point of intoxication and both encouraging and participating in sex acts with two of the teenagers, according to Virginia Board of Education disciplinary records.
The alleged misconduct occurred while Christopher Rademacher, a former teacher at Langley High School in McLean, was traveling with students to Germany in July 2014.
Though police report being alerted about the accusations, criminal charges were not filed against Rademacher because the alleged misconduct happened overseas. Trip organizers said they were never told.
The disciplinary records reviewed by the I-Team said that, during the school district investigation, students confirmed the allegations that Rademacher supplied the teenagers with alcohol and encouraged them to “strip naked." But the records did not specify whether evidence was gathered about the alleged sexual acts.
The records further note that Rademacher refused to cooperate in the investigation and provided no statement.
The records also said Fairfax County Public Schools placed Rademacher on administrative leave in August 2014, five days after being notified of the allegations by the police department. He resigned his job two months later.
Rademacher did not appear at a state hearing at which his license was formally revoked, according to a state education department hearing.
The I-Team tried for multiple weeks to contact Christopher Rademacher by phone and by email, but was unable to do so.
The Fairfax County Police Department did not launch a formal child abuse investigation against Rademacher because the alleged crime occurred overseas, outside state and local police jurisdiction, the agency told the News-4 I-Team.
“The fundamental issue is that we had, have no alleged offense in Fairfax County, therefore we would not have made a referral to anyone,” said Fairfax County police spokesman Don Gotthardt..
“And by the same token, if we had no known or alleged offense in Fairfax County, there would be no case to pursue," Gotthardt said. "Obviously, if someone had filed a report or made an allegation that a criminal offense had occurred in Fairfax County, we would have investigated it thoroughly.”
According to the records and some of his former students, who spoke with the I-Team, Rademacher regularly organized and chaperoned an annual student summer trip to Germany. About 20 Langley students traveled to Germany each summer with Rademacher, according to trip participants.
Fairfax County Public Schools spokesman John Torre, in a statement to News4, said, “This was not a school sponsored or FCPS sponsored trip. It was organized by the teacher on his own time. Once FCPS became aware of what had occurred, we immediately notified the parents of the students who traveled with the teacher and also contacted law enforcement. Friendship Connection is not a FCPS-approved vendor nor do we have any financial relationship with the company. “
The summer student trips to Germany were organized by Friendship Connection, an Ohio-based organization that facilitates the exchange of German and American students. German students are placed with host families in the United States, while American students are placed with German families in Europe, according to company literature.
American teachers often accompany their students during the month-long trip to Germany, former Langley students told the I-Team.
The father of a 15-year-old who went on the trip told News4 he didn't realize the school did not back the program.
"I just assumed that it was kind of part of the school program, that there was an optional summer trip supervised by a teacher from Langley High School," he said. "It was just kind of implicit."
Friendship Connection told the I-Team it was never notified about the incident involving Rademacher by school officials or police. Friendship Connection director Krista Winzer Lee said, “In the summer of 2014, Mr. Rademacher organized his own ‘extra trip’ after (official) 28-day exchange program was over. The Langley High School parents approved of Mr. Rademacher's private trip and financed it. We did not hear about any ‘incident; that occurred during his private trip until the day he was removed from the Langley HS at the beginning to the 2014-2015 school year. We tried to find out why Mr. Rademacher was let go and to this day we have never received any clear answers. “
One former Langley student who participated in a Germany summer trip with Langley High School classmates said, “All of the students met (the teacher) at the airport and we flew to Germany together. Then we landed and were picked up by our host families. We all went our separate ways living with our host family for a month. (The teacher) traveled through Germany and met with each family once to check in. That visit lasted about an hour or so.”
The overseas Germany trips are no longer offered at Langley, according to parents with whom the I-Team spoke.
Winzer Lee said her organization is also seeking to locate Rademacher. She said he has not yet released money he’d raised for a potential 2015 trip to Germany for Langley students.
Fairfax County Public Schools also said in its statement, "FCPS takes allegations of child exploitation very seriously, whether they occurred at school or outside of FCPS. When such allegations arise, FCPS immediately investigates these claims and removes the individual from having any access to students. FCPS notifies law enforcement and actively works closely to pursue charges to the fullest extent possible. We work in tandem with families in such cases to provide support for children involved and always communicate these cases with the privacy and needs of the child as the priority."
In a letter sent to the Langley High School community Thursday, Principal Fred Amico wrote:
Dear Langley Saxon Community:
You may be reading or hearing in the news about a 2014 incident involving a former Langley High School teacher and several Langley students who traveled together overseas on a non-FCPS trip. During the trip, the teacher engaged in inappropriate behavior with the students. There are a few facts we want you to be aware of regarding this incident:
•The trip was not sanctioned or sponsored by Langley High School or by FCPS. It was organized by the teacher on his own time.
•Once we became aware of what had apparently transpired during the trip, we immediately notified the parents of the students who traveled with the teacher and also contacted law enforcement.
•We also immediately began the process to dismiss the teacher and revoke his teaching license. The teacher was never allowed back into an FCPS classroom following this incident.
•FCPS took every possible legal and administrative step in response to this incident.
Thank you for your support and understanding.
This story was reported by Scott MacFarlane. It was produced by Ashley Brown and Rick Yarborough. It was shot and edited by Steve Jones.