The Pepper Bough

Special Ed teacher’s arrest shocks campus

Ben Kundert has been teaching at CHS for a number of years. (Photo courtesy of Crimson and Gold yearbook staff)

Ben Kundert has been teaching at CHS for a number of years. (Photo courtesy of Crimson and Gold yearbook staff)

Margaret Marin, Editor-in-Chief

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For a second time within a year and half our school has had another teacher arrested for suspicion of sexual misconduct. In this case, Special Education teacher Ben Kundert has been accused of sexually abusing two of his relatives when they were the ages of 6 and 14. Kundert was booked last week, according to a story in the San Bernardino Sun.

The Sun was the first to break the news late Thursday evening, revealing the name of the suspects which includes Kundert and his wife Janet Kundert, also known as Janet Dodge. The Sun also claims Kundert’s wife, “is also charged with two counts of felony child abuse.” These crimes allegedly took place in 2015.

Kundert was arrested Thursday, November 9, by the Rialto Police Department. The two young girls are now in their early 20s and just recently they went forward to report the alleged crime against Kundert to the Rialto Police Department. The two unnamed victims claim Kundert had sexually abused them between the years of 2004 and 2010. Kundert has been charged by the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office one Tuesday “with nine counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child.The Sun reports that Kundert remains in police custody, his bail was originally set at $350,000. As of now, his bail has increased to $1,000,000 . As for Dodge, it’s reported that there is no record of her arrest “as of Tuesday.”

As of Wednesday, Kundert and Dodge have denied “they physically or sexually abused two female relatives for several years.” according to court records. Dodge appeared in West Valley Superior Court with her lawyer, Geoff Newman in her defense.

Kundert has worked for the Colton Joint Unified School District as a special needs teacher here at Colton High School for over a decade. Authorities believe none of the students Kundert teaches were targeted. As of now Kundert has been placed on administrative leave, according to district spokesperson Katie Orloff, quoted in the Sun.  The Colton Unified School District has released a statement about accusation against Kundert saying, “Benjamin Kundert is an employee of (Colton Joint Unified School District) and has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. Currently the investigation does not involve any CJUSD students. We are fully cooperating with law enforcement.”

Colton High School had counselors available on Wednesday for students and staff who needed it in room 503.

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Special Ed teacher’s arrest shocks campus