A former student of Germantown Academy, now 23, contacted investigators in July concerning a relationship that had occurred between herself and a first-year Latin teacher at the school, Michael Cheatle.
She turned over emails and text messages to investigators that dated back to July 2018 through 2019 where they discussed what had happened between the two of them, with some of those correspondences evidently being sent from his Germantown Academy email address.
“I am totally to blame, as I was the adult in the situation," one of those exchanges allegedly reads. "Horribly, I came to view you as an adult when I should not have. I may have inadvertently used our relationship to fill some kind of hole in my lonely sad life. I’m becoming a better man everyday. I struggle with what happened between us, I struggle with other issues in my life.”
Despite this, Cheatle's attorney, Paul Mallis of Young Marr & Associates has stated that his client “vehemently denies these allegations.” In a more official statement he stated, “We’re saddened and disheartened that he’s in this position. As soon as we learned these allegations were made, we surrendered on the warrant without any incident and we look forward to our day in court.”
The relationship is said to have started during the student's junior year and to have lasted for 18 months.
During the course of that time, Cheatle's wife evidently became pregnant.
“You announced, in a room full of my high school friends, that your wife was pregnant, as though we weren’t engaging in an emotionally, and physically, intimate relationship, and with complete disregard for the fact that that would break me,” she said.
Investigators with the Whitemarsh Township Police interviewed Cheatle on September 1. Immediately following that interview, Cheatle contacted Germantown Academy and resigned from his position.
“We took immediate action when the facts of the police investigation were brought to our attention. Mr. Cheatle is no longer employed by Germantown Academy, he is no longer permitted on campus, and he is prohibited from communicating with students and alumni for any reason,” the school said in a statement.
In a subsequent interview with investigators, Cheatle is said to have shown tattoos on his chest which the former student was able to describe in detail. She stated she had seen them during their sexual encounters which had occurred both on and off campus.
The former student is being represented by Youman & Caputo. The firm announced on Thursday, October 1 that they are now representing an additional former student that is also accusing Cheatle of “inappropriate conduct.”
Investigators are asking that anyone with information or that may have been a victim contact the Whitemarsh Township Police at (610) 825-6530.
Cheatle was arraigned on numerous charges including institutional sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor, endangering the welfare of a child, and related offenses. He was then released on a $100,000 bond.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for October 14.