BARNETT TWP., Pa. (EYT) – A former Erie County teacher is facing criminal charges in Jefferson County for allegedly exposing himself to two young teens during a camping trip in Cook Forest.
Court documents indicate on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, the Marienville-based State Police filed criminal charges against 44-year-old Robert Shane Ludwig, of Erie.
According to a criminal complaint, on January 22, Marienville-based State Police initiated an investigation after receiving a ChildLine report regarding two juvenile males who reported a man they were camping with exposed his genitals to them.
In an interview, the first juvenile victim told police that he, the second victim, and Robert Ludwig went to Clarington in a camper from July 31, 2019, to August 8, 2019. The victim reported he was lying on the bed in the camper when Ludwig, who had just come in from taking a shower outside, looked at him, said, “watch this,” then dropped his towel, showing his buttocks and genitals. The victim said Ludwig then pulled the towel up and began laughing, according to the complaint.
The second victim told police he had begun hanging out with Ludwig, who was his eighth grade English teacher, several years ago and had gone on about 40 trips with him, including many overnight trips out of state. The victim said he thought of Ludwig as “a good friend” until “things started getting weird with him” the prior year, the complaint states.
The victim reported that Ludwig had started saying “I love you” a lot and told him, “I’m going to start hugging you more,” according to the complaint.
The victim told police he and Ludwig had exchanged thousands of text messages over the last year and a half.
The victim said that during the camper trip to Clarington from July 31, 2019, through August 8, 2019, he was coming out of the bathroom one day when Ludwig flashed him by dropping his towel. The victim said he then turned around and waited for Ludwig to cover himself, then went around him to the bedroom. He reported that he saw Ludwig’s genitals and buttocks and said he knew it was intentional, according to the complaint.
After the interview, police also took custody of the second victim’s phone, with the victim’s parent’s consent.
On February 25, 2020, data extraction was performed on the cell phone.
A review of the data showed Ludwig had exchanged hundreds of text messages with the victim, some of which contained sexual content. Police also found that Ludwig had encouraged the victim to delete their text messages, the complaint notes.
Ludwig was arraigned in front of Magisterial District Judge Gregory M. Bazylak at 1:00 p.m. on April 14, 2021, on the following charges:
– Corruption of Minors – Defendant Age 18 or Above, Felony 3
– Indecent Exposure, Misdemeanor 1 (four counts)
– Corruption of Minors, Misdemeanor 1 (two counts)
He is currently free on $50,000.00 unsecured bail.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 11:00 a.m. on June 1 with Judge Bazylak presiding.
Court documents indicate Ludwig is also scheduled to stand for trial in front of Judge Julia Elaine Bagnoni on May 3 on felony dissemination of explicit sexual material to a minor, felony unlawful contact with a minor, and corruption of minors charges from an incident in Erie County in 2019.
According to GoErie.com, the charges in Erie County are related to allegations that Ludwig sent sexually explicit materials to a 14-year-old student while working as a teacher at Harbor Creek School District.