HAZLE TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)— James Hudock was a chemistry teacher at the Hazleton Area High School and was also Vice-Principal. He worked for the district for nearly 40 years, but investigators say he violated a most sacred trust between a teacher and student.
Sugarloaf Township Police received a tip in September from Childline, an anonymous state-run child abuse hotline number, that Hudock was having a relationship with a 17-year-old female student. Hudock was a chemistry teacher for decades and was promoted to Vice-Principal at the Hazleton Area High School.
According to an arrest affidavit, Hudock met the student numerous times off-campus, detectives say he kissed and hugged the student on several occasions and also sent her text messages of a sexual nature. Hudock retired from the school district at about the same time the police launched their investigation.
Police served a search warrant at Hudock’s home last November.
“Search warrants involved in everything. Digital evidence is very time-consuming. It’s just the way it is now takes a long time sometimes for different investigations,” said Josh Winters, the Chief of the Sugarloaf Township Police.
Chief Winters said investigators looked at more than 7,000 text messages, this text is highlighted in the arrest affidavit:
If I’m not being too forward, I think it would be very comfortable to share a bed with you. If it’s anything like the hug you gave me yesterday.Reported text from James Hudock
Winters said he hopes this case sends a message to anyone who works with children.
“Obviously we treat every crime seriously, especially ones involving children and students/teachers. They are going to be investigated thoroughly, it’s a short warning for anyone who has any thought of that in the future,” Chief Winters told Eyewitness News.
Attorney Frank Nocito represents Hudock.
“I can tell you I just received the charged. I haven’t had the opportunity to review the charges in any detail. So I’ll be reviewing the charges the affidavit of Probable Cause. I anticipate preparing for a preliminary hearing and we’ll be ready for that,” Nocito explained.
Word of the arrest has people talking in this community. Jasmine graduated from Hazleton Area High School.
“It’s disgusting. Once you go to school to be protected by these teachers and then getting these charges with children and stuff who’s protecting the school,” Jasmine said.
Hudock is facing several charges including Corruption of Minors and Institutional Sexual Assault of Minor/School. He faces 20 years in prison if convicted on these charges.. he’s free on $50,000 unsecured bail. He will have a hearing later this month.
Eyewitness News will take a closer look at the investigation and reaction from the community tonight on Eyewitness News at 6.