Bond was set at $50,000 for former Solon band director Edward L. Kline of Stow at a hearing Sept. 23 in Bedford Municipal Court after he was arraigned on a charge of gross sexual imposition of a 12-year-old female student.
If convicted, Kline could receive a maximum five-year sentence and a fine of up to $10,000. Judge Michelle Paris also signed a criminal protection order for the alleged victim in the case, who was present in the courtroom.
The victim, who was not named, was accompanied by a representative from the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. She described the 2010 incident in question, where as an eighth-grade student, she said Kline asked her to come into his office alone to play her clarinet. He asked her to play a B-flat warm-up scale, and to face the closed office door. While she did so, she said he “groped the back of my thigh.” She said Kline told her he had a “sensory issue.”
“That was the only time that he physically harmed me, but there was more emotional things going on throughout high school,” she said.
The victim also said she got A’s all the way through high school in band, even though she failed playing tests, and Kline never reported her to the administration when she skipped class.
Lon Stolarsky, a Solon municipal prosecutor, represented the city of Solon against Kline, who appeared in orange jail clothing via video conference from Solon City Jail. Lawyer Eric C. Nemecek of Friedman & Nemecek, LLC represented Kline in court. The protection order bars Kline from having any communication with the victim, even if the victim gives her consent.
Kline turned himself in Sept. 23 and was booked at about 8:15 a.m. at Solon City Jail, according to Detective Lt. Jamey Hofmann of the Solon Police Department.
“Stemming from an investigation that was started in June of this year by the Solon Detective Bureau, former Solon School District Band Director, Edward Kline, was charged with gross sexual imposition, a felony of the third degree,” Hofmann wrote in a news release. “The alleged incident occurred in September of 2010, and involved what was at the time, a 12-year-old victim. The investigation is ongoing and more charges are anticipated once the case is presented to a Cuyahoga County Grand Jury.”
Kline, 50, is married. He worked with students from eighth to 12th grades in Solon from 2004 until his resignation in 2018. He resigned from Solon schools in 2018 before his employment could be terminated, according to a report then-Superintendent Joseph Regano filed with the Ohio Department of Education in 2018.
The Solon school district issued the following statement Sept. 23: “We have been informed by the Solon Police Department that a former teacher was arrested and charged today in relation to inappropriate contact with a student in 2010. The district first became aware of these troubling new allegations this summer. As we communicated to our school community in June when these new reports were made, school should be a safe space and we take the safety and emotional well-being of all our students – past and present – extremely seriously.
“The district is unable to comment further, at this time, as this is still an ongoing investigation and involves matters that must be kept confidential to protect the student’s privacy rights. However, it is always important to remind students and families to immediately report anything concerning to the school and/or law enforcement. The district’s Safe School Helpline (1-800-418- 6423, ext. 359, or text TIPS to 66746) is available 24/7 for confidential reporting of inappropriate or illegal activity.”
A message posted on The Solon Soundboard on Facebook accusing a former Solon City Schools band director of misconduct caught the attention of local law enforcement in June and brought to light details surrounding his resignation from the school system two years ago. Other alleged victims came forward in light of that post.
The Solon Police Department confirmed to the Cleveland Jewish News it was investigating the allegations posted on Facebook. As of July 14, police had interviewed eight to 10 people in connection with an investigation of an unidentified former Solon teacher, according to Hofmann. Hofmann said he opened an investigation on June 8.
During the hearing, Kline’s image appeared on a monitor on the judge’s desk, as Nemechek stood behind the judge at the side bar. That way, the defendant could see his lawyer for the proceedings.
A preliminary hearing is set for Oct. 1 in Bedford Municipal Court to determine probable cause.
Lifestyles Magazine Editor Amanda Koehn contributed to this report.