Former Elkhart teacher faces 18 sex crime charges

A former northern Indiana teacher has been charged with more than a dozen sex crimes after he groped and made sexual advances on students, according to court documents.

Andrew Cowells, 47, was charged with 10 counts of possessing child pornography, two counts of child solicitation, two counts each of voyeurism and battery and vicarious sexual gratification.

Cowells, a high school social studies teacher, was fired from the Concord Community Schools District in Elkhart last week, according to a news release from the district.

Court documents show Cowells allegedly asked students to touch themselves or let him touch them in front of his class. He’s also alleged to have made sexual comments to students in the classroom and inappropriately touched students in the boy’s bathroom.

Students who spoke to police about the incidents were between 15 and 16 years old, according to the court filings.

Investigators said they further found sexually explicit photos of male teenagers on Cowells’ phone.

The school district first announced it had placed Cowells on leave on May 5 after he made “inappropriate comments of a sexual nature.” District officials said three other teachers have also been placed on leave and that police have obtained search warrants for those teachers’ cellphones.

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