Former East Chicago teacher charged with child molesting, sexual misconduct to be back in court Jan. 25

CROWN POINT — A 40-year old former math teacher and coach at East Chicago’s Block Junior High School charged with child molesting and sexual misconduct with a minor will be back in Lake Criminal Court on Jan. 25.

Judge Clarence Murray granted Paul E. Chandler Jr., of Portage, a continuance at the request of defense attorney Steven L. Mullins. The Jan. 25 court appearance will either be another omnibus hearing or a submission of a plea, according to Mullins’ motion.

Chandler was arrested Oct. 25, 2016, and posted a $3,000 cash bond.

Two Block Junior High students were targeted, court records state. One was 13 years old and the other was 14 at the time that the crimes allegedly occurred in September 2016, according to the probable cause affidavit.

In Indiana, child molesting refers to victims younger than 14, while the sexual misconduct with a minor specifies that the child is at least 14 years old, but less than 16.

Interviewed by Lake County detectives at the Lake County Family Victim Center, the 13-year-old said Chandler touched her arm “in an uncomfortable way as he walked by her desk and brushed his fingers over her thighs as she sat doing her school work at her desk.”

Lake County detectives also interviewed the 14-year-old student who said Chandler sat behind her and placed his knee on her buttocks, rubbed her arm and pulled her hair.

Reporting like this is brought to you by a staff of experienced local journalists committed to telling the stories of your community. Support from subscribers is vital to continue our mission.