Crime & Courts

October 21, 2011

Second Clearwater educator arrested on suspicion of sexual misconduct

CLEARWATER -- For the second time in less than a week, this town of about 2,400 learned that a second educator had been arrested on suspicion of having illegal sexual relations with a student.

Investigators from the Exploited and Missing Child Unit arrested a 33-year-old woman on suspicion of two counts of unlawful sexual relations with a 17-year-old male student. Amber D. Dull was booked into Sedgwick County Jail Thursday, jail records showed. That arrest came six days after a Clearwater Middle School language arts teacher was arrested following accusations of indecent liberties with a 15-year-old boy.

Mike Roth, schools superintendent at Clearwater, said Dull worked with special-education students in the high school as an employee of the Sedgwick County Area Educational Services Interlocal Cooperative. Dull was assigned to aid students in individual educational programs, Roth said. Dull has been with the cooperative since August 2010, said director Larry Clark.

Roth said he planned to schedule future training for all employees of his district stressing maintaining proper relationships with students.

"We want to stress that relationships between students and teachers have a real and fine line that can't be crossed," Roth said.

Clearwater Middle School teacher Cathleen M. Balman, 39, was booked into Sedgwick County Jail on Oct. 14, suspected of having an indecent relationship with a former student. A spokeswoman for the Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office said today that police had presented Balman's case to prosecutors but no charges had been filed.

In Kansas, it's illegal for a teacher to have sexual relations with a student of any age.

EMCU investigators said they received a tip on the most recent case Wednesday and returned Thursday to find probable cause for an arrest.

The second arrest on sexual misconduct in the schools shocked some in the small community southwest of Wichita.

"I mean, this is such a small community you don't think of those things happening," said Shay Knoblauch, 31, whose son had been in Balman's class and whose daughters had known Dull, when she worked at a Clearwater preschool.

News of the second arrest hadn't reached many in Clearwater by early afternoon, as many prepared for tonight's game with their unbeaten football team at Mulvane and the town's fall festival this weekend.

"I haven't heard a lot of people talking about it," said Steve Macy, 39, whose son had Balman in class. "At least, I haven't heard about it from the people I hang around."

Roth said he hoped the arrests wouldn't distract the rest of the 1,200 students and 170 employees in the district.

"Two incidents in less than a week is irrelevant to me, because one incident in a year, or one in 10 years, is too much as far as I'm concerned," Roth said. "But we've got a lot of great things going on in our schools, and I hope it isn't overwhelmed by what appears to be the bad judgment of two individuals."

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