COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A middle school teacher and coach is under arrest after a student reported incidents of sexual contact over five years.
According to the Franklin County court documents, the first incident involving Benjamin M. Rutan, 40, of Grove City, was in June 2013, when the girl was 14. Police said the sexual contact continued until she was 19.
Arrest documents said Rutan was the girl’s language arts teacher, track, and basketball coach at Norton Middle School at the time the sexual contact began.
Norton Middle School is in the South-Western City School District.
As of Wednesday, Rutan was placed on administrative leave, according to the district.
Arrest documents state the two would have sexual contact multiple times a week on school grounds, including his classroom, in the school’s parking lot, and in his coach’s office, as well as other locations throughout Franklin County.
Police said the victim first contacted authorities on Nov. 17 of this year and was given a recording device on Dec. 2, 2021, with which she allegedly caught Rutan admitting the sexual contact several times during a conversation.
Rutan was arrested by Franklin County sheriff’s deputies Wednesday and is charged with two counts of sexual battery and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.
Rutan’s bond is set to $50,000 cash surety bond and has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Dec. 17 at 9 a.m.
In a statement made Wednesday, superintendent Dr. Bill Wise said:
Today (Wednesday, December 8, 2021), we learned one of our teachers was taken into custody by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office for alleged sexual misconduct matters involving a former student. We are working in full cooperation with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.
As soon as we were made aware of the charges, the district placed the teacher on administrative leave, pending an investigation. The safety and security of our students are our top priority.
We will continue to work through our disciplinary and legal processes regarding this matter.South-Western City Schools Superintendent Dr. Bill Wise
UPDATE: Rutan posted bond on December 17, 2021. The case has now moved to the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.
Note: An earlier version of this story used the phrase “sexual relationship” based on the wording in official documents. That wording has been revised.