Holy Cross leaders address concerns about former teacher

Kenneth Rogner
Kenneth Rogner

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)  A former teacher who’s facing child pornography charges appeared in court Friday. Now, leaders at Holy Cross Lutheran School are responding to parents’ concerns about any contact Kenneth Rogner may have had with students while police conducted an investigation.

According to court documents, that investigation began in December of 2011 and police issued a search warrant at Rogner’s home in July of 2012. Detectives found more than 100 child pornography images and movie files.

At that time, Rogner told police he was a teacher for 25 years and a principal at Lutheran Christian Schools for three years as well as a full-time choir musician and director at his church.

Allen County prosecutors officially filed charges against Rogner, 63, on April 29, 2014.

School leaders said Rogner resigned from Holy Cross Lutheran on August 6, 2012 and admit they were made aware of the police investigation into Rogner at that time. Principal Cecily Chandler posted a notice to parents on the school’s website this week explaining that no inappropriate conduct by Rogner with students was ever reported and that no pornographic material was ever found on Holy Cross computers used by him. The message also stated that Rogner “only had controlled access to Holy Cross after his resignation.”

NewsChannel 15 has heard from parents who are upset about the way the school handled Rogner’s resignation. They also expressed concern about exactly what “controlled access” Rogner may have to the school after he submitted his resignation. None of them wanted to speak publicly, but said they were never notified about the details surrounding the investigation into his alleged activities. Information posted on the Holy Cross website Friday stated, “Administrators chose to allow the criminal investigation to conclude before speaking publicly about this matter.”

Holy Cross Senior Pastor Dr. Thomas Ahlersmeyer told NewsChannel 15 Friday that school leaders have been forthright and focused on the safety of students from the beginning. In addressing concerns that Rogner was permitted back at the school after stepping down, Ahlersmeyer said that at the time Rogner resigned, he was escorted to his office after hours to collect his personal items. He had no other access to the building after that time.

“I knew there was an investigation going on,” Ahlersmeyer explained. “As a pastor, I’m somewhat bound. They were zeroing in on home use. We had many ways to check to make sure this wasn’t going on in our campus. So with all that being the case, I was very certain that this had not involved our children. Consequently, I felt the justice system had to run its course.”

Rogner faces a class D felony charge of Possession of Child Pornography and was released on bond. He’ll be back in court June 25.

 

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