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Jonathan Bell, school coach, admits to sexual relationships with girls

By Ryan Hughes, Reporter, RHughes@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 07:54:48 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 19 2013 01:25:01 PM CST

Teacher, coach admits to sexual relationships with students

READING, Pa. -

After a year of negotiations, a high school teacher and athletic coach took responsibility and admitted to having sexual relationships with four of his students.

Jonathan Bell pleaded guilty Wednesday to various charges, including involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault and corruption of minors.

"Today we got to hear the defendant take responsibility for his actions and acknowledge that he did in fact do what they claimed he did, and that's sort of closure to some degree," said Daniel Dye, deputy attorney general.

Bell, 32, taught in the Exeter School District and was a former water polo and swim coach for Governor Mifflin High School in Berks County.

Bell was first arrested in August 2012 and charged with having inappropriate sexual contact with a 17-year-old girl he coached. Then, additional charges were filed by the attorney general's office as more victims came forward.

"It's been very difficult and he's been deemed a monster and all these kinds of things by the public," said Allan Sodomsky, Bell's defense attorney.

Sodomsky said the negotiations took several turns over the last year, but the agreement reached calls for a minimum of 10 to 20 years in prison followed by 10 years probation.

"His life hasn't been great for the last year and I'm sure there are some that will applaud that, but those that know Jonathan know it's been extremely difficult. He's shown a lot of remorse through the last year," said Sodomsky.

Bell will go before the sex offender assessment board to determine if he is a sexually violent offender. Formal sentencing is scheduled for March 20.

Bell was suspended without pay from the Exeter Township School District. His status remained unchanged, school district officials said Wednesday.