Bishop Dwenger teacher charged with child solicitation

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A Bishop Dwenger teacher has been charged with child solicitation, according to a letter sent home to parents Tuesday.

Dennis Clemens
Dennis Clemens

However, a probable cause affidavit obtained by NewsChannel 15 indicates Dennis Clemens’ alleged involvement with a student took place in 2015 while he was a teacher at South Side High School in Fort Wayne and that the relationship was initiated via a conversation started on Facebook.

The letter from Bishop Dwenger, signed by school principal Jason Schiffli, said the State of Indiana, “… charged Dennis S. Clemens with a felony offense of Child Solicitation.”

Allen County court records do not show a Dennis S. Clemens in custody, but a warrant was issued for his arrest Monday on a charge of ‘child solicitation, but solicitation is for fondling or touching.’

A letter sent home to parents of Bishop Dwenger students Tuesday from the principal.
A letter sent home to parents of Bishop Dwenger students Tuesday from the principal.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Clemens sent a Facebook message to a 15-year-old student and asked if he was a virgin. The boy reportedly told Clemens that he wasn’t, and said he lost his virginity in a “let’s do this before your mom comes home” sort of situation. Clemens, then, responded, “Wanna come over and do it before my mom gets home?” according to the affidavit.

Clemens admitted to police to messaging and flirting with the student, according to the affidavit. He told police he would not have followed through with the relationship, however.

The Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio (CCNO) listed an inmate by the name of Dennis S. Clemens, 25, Fort Wayne, on a charge of child solicitation. The booking report indicated Clemens was arrested by the Defiance County Sheriff’s Department Monday.

The Defiance County Sheriff’s Department confirmed Wednesday morning the Clemens they arrested was the same Clemens wanted in Allen County. And Schiffli confirms the Clemens in CCNO is the teacher referenced in the Bishop Dwenger letter.

It’s unclear if Clemens is being investigated for any possible inappropriate relationships while at Bishop Dwenger. Schiffli told NewsChannel 15 that Clemens was hired in June and taught government at the school. Schiffli said Clemens was a well-liked teacher.

Local social media expert Anthony Juliano said in today’s world of social media, parents have to be aware.

 

“We’re seeing things like this. Risks emerge certainly as young as middle school and sometimes younger but the risks change as kids enter high school and as they grow a little bit order,” he said.

Juliano suggests parents have to take control.

“Having the conversation with your child and being upfront with them about the risks and being upfront with them about your expectations is a great way to start that conversation and ultimately show them you care and build trust,” he said.

Juliano suggests looking at research from a Pew Research Center study on parent’s’ monitoring of their children’s social media use. He also suggests a new monitoring product by Disney:

A 15 Finds Out Investigation was done on social media policies at area schools earlier this year. Click here Alyssa Ivanson’s first report.