A Chester County Christian school houseparent was arrested after authorities found he sexually abused a student for years.
Authorities allege that Daniel Rowley, 70, of Fort Meyers, FL had "improper sexual contact" with a student between 2003 and 2007, when he was a houseparent and coach at Church Farm School (CFS) in Exton, according to the Chester County District Attorney's Office.
Houseparents are adults who live in residence halls with students and oversee their day-to-day living.
West Whiteland Police received information in November 2018 about a former CFS student who was sexually abused by a houseparent during the student’s freshman, junior, and senior years, the DA's office said.
Earlier in 2018, the victim revealed the abuse to his guidance counselor – a mandated reporter – when he was at CFS; the victim, however, was not ready to speak with law enforcement about the abuse at that time, authorities said.
Police were able to speak with the victim in January 2021, who told officers that he lived in the cottage where Rowley was a houseparent when he was a freshman at CFS, the 2003-2004 school year, the DA's office said.
During that school year, Rowley brought the victim into his living area three times a week, where he orally and anally sexually abused the victim, authorities said.
When the victim was in 7th or 8th grade, on a school-sponsored trip to Florida with CFS baseball team members, Rowley walked in on the boy while he was showering, the DA's office said.
The victim did not attend CFS as a sophomore but returned in 2005-2006 as a junior, where he, again, lived in the same cottage as the Rowley, authorities said.
That year, Rowley sexually assaulted the boy in his living area and as many as 20 times in the cottage’s boiler room located in the basement, the DA's office said.
Rowley continued to sexually abuse the boy into his senior year, authorities said.
In total, Rowley abused the victim hundreds of times, the DA's office said.
Rowley left CFS in 2010 after an internal investigation.
He was apprehended on July 26 in Florida, authorities said.
“The sexual abuse of students and children is pervasive and needs to stop now. My office will root out any adult, wherever they live, who abuses or has abused children," DA Deb Ryan said.
"It took many years for this victim to have the courage to reveal what had happened to him, and then more years to have the fortitude to speak with law enforcement. His bravery should be an example for other children and adults to come forward and seek help.”
“Thank you to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for their assistance in apprehending the defendant," West Whiteland Police Chief Lee Benson said.
"Inter-agency collaboration such as this shows child predators that no one is out of our reach.”
Rowley was charged with 10 counts each of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and statutory sexual assault, 20 counts of indecent assault of a person less than 16, and related offenses.
He was sent to Lee County Jail in Fort Myers, FL where he awaits extradition to Chester County.
West Whiteland Police and Florida Department of Law Enforcement are investigating. Deputy District Attorney Erin O’Brien is the assigned prosecutor.
If you have any information about this case, please call Detective Michael Buchmann at 610-363-0200. Call Childline at 1-800-932-0313 if you suspect a child or student is being abused.
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