Feds Reviewing Allegations Against Former Fairfax Co. Teacher

The federal prosecutor for the Eastern District of Virginia says it is "reviewing the matter" of a former Langley High School teacher in the wake of a News4 I-Team investigation revealing allegations of misconduct with students and mishandling of parents’ money.

Christopher Rademacher quit his job and was stripped of his teaching license after Fairfax County Public Schools investigated allegations that he supplied high school students on a trip to Germany with alcohol, encouraged them to drink to the point of intoxication and both encouraged and participated in sex acts with two of the teenagers, the News4 I-Team reported Thursday. 

The allegations were included in state education department disciplinary records, obtained by the I-Team under the Freedom of Information Act. 

Friday, United States Attorney Dana Boente issued a statement, saying, "We are aware of the allegations involving former Langley High School teacher Christopher Rademacher and are reviewing the matter."

The incidents allegedly occurred during a June 2014 student trip to Germany, supervised by Rademacher.

Fairfax County police said they were unable to launch a child abuse investigation against Rademacher because the alleged misconduct occurred overseas, outside local police jurisdiction.

Fairfax County Public Schools sent a letter to Langley High School parents notifying them of the 2014 incident Thursday evening, about an hour before the News-4 I-Team posted the findings of its investigation.

In its letter to parents, the school district said “the teacher engaged in inappropriate behavior with the students.” The school district said it had also notified parents of students on the trip to alert them.

The school district changed its statement Friday, after the I-Team found that the father of a McLean boy who traveled on the 2014 trip was not notified about the incident. The updated statement from the school district said “parents of the victims” were notified.

The I-Team has attempted to contact Rademacher by phone and email for weeks to obtain his comment on the charges, but not has not reached him.

Several other Langley High School parents have also been attempting to reach Rademacher, to settle a separate controversy from late 2014. The parents said Rademacher has disappeared with about $18,000 from families with students planning to take a 2015 trip to Germany with the teacher.

Rademacher resigned his job in September 2014, and has since been out of reach, some parents told the I-Team.

Richard DeSalvo, who enrolled his son for the 2015 trip, said Rademacher has $1,000 of his family’s cash. DeSalvo said the money was a deposit he said Rademacher requested in mid-2014.

Greg Cinque, whose child also enrolled for the 2015 trip, said his $1,000 disappeared with Rademacher too, and that it's been a "long, long process" to recover it. "Lots of emails going out," Cinque said. "Very few emails coming in. We can’t find him.”

Friendship Connection, an Ohio-based organization that operated Rademacher’s trips and dozens more German exchange trips nationwide, has been attempting to track down Rademacher since 2014 to recover the money for families, program director Krista Winzer-Lee said.

Rademacher insisted on unique and unorthodox financial control of the German exchange program he operated for Langley High School students, Winzer-Lee said. Rademacher was the only program teacher who insisted deposits were paid one year in advance, she said.

Winzer-Lee and Langley parents said Rademacher established an official LLC through which to collect the money. The LLC’s documentation lists the address of an Alexandria home Rademacher once owned. 

Fairfax County Public Schools spokesman John Torre said, “FCPS did not know that money for a future trip was missing until parents brought it to the school’s attention. Those parents were referred back to Friendship Connection since FCPS had no legal means to track down the deposits. FCPS did contact Friendship Connection in 2014 to inform them of events that allegedly occurred and families of the alleged victims were also contacted and made aware of the allegations.”

Multiple Langley parents told the I-Team Rademacher recruited students for the German trips while inside school buildings, during official school programs.

“I just assumed it was part of the school program," said John Barrer, whose son participated on the 2014 German trip with Rademacher. “It was just kind of implicit.”

Torre, the Fairfax County Public Schools spokesman, said Rademacher’s German trips were not officially sanctioned by the school district. Friendship Connection, the company that operates the program, is not an official school vendor, Torre said.

"The financial arrangements were between the trip participants and the teacher who organized this trip through the Friendship Connection, which is not a FCPS-approved vendor," he said.

Friendship Connection provided the I-Team with documents, indicating Fairfax County Public Schools officials signed authorization forms to allow German students to participate in Rademacher’s exchange program, inside Langley High School.

This story was reported by Scott MacFarlane. It was produced by Ashley Brown and Rick Yarborough. It was shot and edited by Steve Jones.

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