NY — Middle school music teacher Keith D. Powell, 56, was arrested late Friday on charges he endangered the welfare of two 14-year-old girls by having "inappropriate" physical contact with them, kissing them, and giving one $50.
The girls were students of his who he recently allowed to use his classroom during study hall periods. Powell has been a teacher at the school since 1986.
According to a written statement, Powell admitted kissing one of the girls on the cheek and hugging her, grabbing a leg of the other and talking with both about their sexual histories.
Of one, Powell is quoted as saying, "I wanted to discover for myself that (the girl) loved me the way I loved her ... I wanted to be on the same level with her parents."
Powell told police the mother of the girl whom he hugged and kissed had called him the day after the February incident, and "I promised her (the girl) I would not touch her without her permission."
About a month ago, Powell told police he touched the calf of the other girl and told her, "I wanted to cuddle with her."
"I felt that if I could touch her and she did not react, it would be an indication that we had a connection," Powell is quoted as telling police. "I wanted to have a relationship with both of the two girls where we could share a deep emotional connection."
Powell also wrote that he had signed up for an account on the social networking Web site to view one of the girls’ Web site there, and printed out pictures and showed them to her. He said he cancelled his Myspace account after the school principal "spoke to me" about it.
Powell also told police he purchased energy drinks for the girls and gave one $50 to use for a $25 pair of pants.
The charges accuse him of kissing both girls on the cheek, but in his statement Powell admitted to doing so with only one.
Endangering the welfare of a child is punishable by up to a year jail.