NORRISTOWN >> A Bucks County man who once worked as a Montgomery County middle school teacher has admitted to having sexual contact with two teenage female students.
Jason Todd Gattuso, 40, of the 200 block of East Fairwood Drive, Chalfont, Bucks County, pleaded guilty in Montgomery County Court to felony charges of statutory sexual assault, institutional sexual assault and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse in connection with incidents that occurred between June 2014 and August 2015 while he was an eighth-grade social studies teacher at Springfield Township Middle School.
Judge Garrett D. Page deferred sentencing so that court officials can complete drug, alcohol and psycho-sexual evaluations of Gattuso, who remains in the county jail without bail pending sentencing.
Gattuso also faces an evaluation by the Pennsylvania Sexual Offenders Assessment Board, which will determine if he meets criteria to be classified as a sexually violent predator. Those classified as predators face more stringent restrictions under state law.
Gattuso, a married father of one child, potentially faces decades behind bars on the charges. Gattuso has been in jail since his arrest in July 2016.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney James Price.
Defense lawyer Thomas C. Egan III said Gattuso voluntarily resigned from the school district and surrendered his state teaching certificate.
“He’s been cooperative with police the entire time. He gave a full statement admitting his involvement,” said Egan, adding he will argue for leniency on behalf of Gattuso at sentencing time. “We understand the severity of the offenses and no one will try to minimize those. However, he has an impeccable background.”
Egan noted Gattuso has no prior criminal record. Gattuso was a star football player at Central Bucks West High School and a starter on the football team at Villanova University, from which he graduated. Egan said Gattuso served honorably in the Army, during which he served in Iraq in combat and after which he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
“He has been amazingly remorseful since the inception of the investigation. He’s first and foremost remorseful that he has put the girls and their families in this position. Secondly, he’s very remorseful that he has put his wife and his child and his parents and extended family in this position,” Egan said.
An investigation began in June 2016, after one girl told police that between September and November 2014, while she was 15 and in ninth grade, Gattuso began sending her text messages and emails. The text messages later “became sexual in nature and escalated to sending and receiving multiple nude or sexually suggestive pictures,” according to the arrest affidavit filed by police from Springfield and Whitemarsh townships.
In January 2015, Gattuso offered to help the girl study for mid-term exams at her home, where the two then engaged in sexual intercourse, according to the criminal complaint.
A second girl told police that while in ninth grade, she and Gattuso began a similar relationship that included exchanging sexually-charged text messages and photos, according to the arrest affidavit.
Over the course of 13 months, July 2014 to August 2015, the second girl and Gattuso engaged in sexual intercourse 15 to 20 times during encounters that occurred in numerous parking lots, including at the Holiday Inn and the Fort Washington Train Station in Whitemarsh and at DeVry University in Upper Dublin, according to the criminal complaint. The girl was 14 years old when the sexual conduct began, police alleged.
When confronted by police about the girls’ allegations, Gattuso confessed to the inappropriate relationships, court documents indicate.