June 20, 2012

Former East High teacher pleads guilty in Wichita sex crimes case

Former East High School English teacher Kurt M. Brundage pleaded guilty Wednesday to two felony counts of indecent liberties with a child in Sedgwick County District Court.

Former East High School English teacher Kurt M. Brundage pleaded guilty Wednesday to two felony counts of indecent liberties with a child in Sedgwick County District Court.

Brundage, 32, was originally charged with two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child and two counts of indecent liberties for incidents surrounding his contact with a 15-year-old girl on at least two occasions in January 2010. Brundage was employed as an English teacher at East High when the crimes occurred.

In court, Brundage answered with simple “yes” and “no” responses as Judge Joseph Bribiesca read the charges and discussed the state’s recommendations.

“Do you understand this plea agreement?” Bribiesca asked.

“Yes, your honor,” Brundage said.

The aggravated charges, which allege sexual intercourse occurred, were dismissed Wednesday under the plea agreement. The lesser charges alleged Brundage engaged in sexual touching with the girl.

Each count carries a presumptive sentence of 31 to 136 months in prison and a maximum fine of $300,000. He will have the opportunity to seek probation, but not a lesser prison sentence, under the plea agreement.

Brundage must also register as a sex offender and will be subject to post-release supervision by the Kansas Department of Corrections for life.

Brundage was arrested March 9 in Wichita after a woman reported to police in late February that he had touched her daughter inappropriately.

Brundage taught English at East High from Aug. 1, 2006, to July 31, 2011, and in the school’s pre-International Baccalaureate program for ninth-graders. He was also the assistant cross country coach for boys and girls at the school in 2004 and 2005.

Wichita school district spokeswoman Susan Arensman said the district received no reports from students of inappropriate behavior by Brundage during his employment at East High. He left the school in July 2011 after taking a teaching job with the Eudora School District, located near Lawrence.

She said the district was unaware of any possible criminal activity involving Brundage until his arrest.

Authorities have not said whether the victim was a student at East High. Arensman said there is no evidence that the crimes occurred at the school.

Brundage is free on $100,000 bond. He also is on paid administrative leave from Eudora High School, district spokeswoman Kristin Magette said Wednesday, but said his teaching contract has not been renewed for the upcoming year. His employment ends June 30.

Brundage was hired late last spring to teach English to 12th-graders, Magette said. He holds no other paid positions, such as coaching, at the school.

Brundage was placed on administrative leave three days after his arrest, she said, and the district has received no reports from students of inappropriate conduct by Brundage while he was at the school.

He also faces revocation of his teaching license, according to Kansas Department of Education spokeswoman Kathy Toelkes. The court’s findings will be reviewed by the department’s Professional Practices Commission, which is expected to formally decide the fate of Brundage’s teaching career later this year.

His license was still active as of Wednesday afternoon, Toelkes confirmed, but she said a flag on his file would alert other school districts of the case if Brundage tried to find a job elsewhere.

Sentencing in the case has been set for Aug. 9 in Judge Philip Journey’s courtroom.

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