The J.P. McCaskey High School music teacher accused of grooming a former male student for a sexual relationship will be released from Lancaster County Prison, a judge ruled Friday.
Timothy Sterner, 52, will be allowed to return to his East Hempfield Township home with a few conditions, including not being allowed to have contact with minors, District Judge Robert Herman Jr. ruled.
Sterner was charged Aug. 5 with several felony and misdemeanor charges of institutional sexual assault of a minor, sexual abuse of children and corruption of minors and other related charges and sent to Lancaster County Prison on $2 million bail. A felony count of depicting sexual activities on a computer was since dropped.
After waiving Sterner's preliminary hearing, defense attorney Bob Beyer asked that Sterner's bail conditions be changed.
"Quite candidly, there's no touching involved in this case," Beyer said. He cited that Sterner does not have a record and has been living in Lancaster County for 30 years, 29 of which he has been married.
Assistant District Attorney Fritz Haverstick asked for Sterner to be put on electronic monitoring and house arrest.
Haverstick said investigators have been "inundated with calls."
"We are talking about 30 years of witnesses and potential victims," Haverstick said.
Herman settled on conditions of $50,000 unsecured bail, weekly visits to bail administration, no travel outside of Lancaster County and no contact with minors. Unsecured bail is a bond that holds a defendant liable for breaching bail conditions.
While Herman stepped out of the courtroom to put the paperwork together, Sterner turned to speak quietly with a few spectators. He turned back and bowed his head, his shoulders shaking as he cried.
Sterner is accused of pursuing a sexual relationship with a student at McCaskey from 2011 through 2015.
After the hearing, Haverstick said the district attorney's office and Lancaster city police are still interested in information from the public related to Sterner.
Beyer said he knows a lot of people from the School District of Lancaster are concerned.
"I'd like to see people move forward and focus on the future," he said, particularly with a new school year starting.
Sterner, a 30-year employee at the School District of Lancaster, remains on paid administrative leave, according to spokesman Adam Aurand.