Cops: Warde teacher exposed himself to student
FAIRFIELD — He was her favorite teacher. She, his doting student.
Together they ran the graphic arts department at Fairfield Warde High School.
But the relationship between teacher Jeff Iwanicki, 44, and the 15-year-old student took a decidedly darker turn, police said.
On Monday, Iwanicki, who has taught for five years at the high school and before that at Fairfield Woods Middle School, was arrested after the girl told school officials he twice exposed himself to her in his Warde classroom.
Iwanicki, of Deerwood Avenue in Milford, was charged with two counts of impairing the morals of a minor, two counts of public indecency and two counts of breach of peace. He was released after posting $50,000 bond, pending arraignment in Superior Court on Jan. 24.
The arrest has thrown the Fairfield Warde community into disarray, with teachers and even the school psychologist telling police only good things about Iwanicki, while also admitting they have never known the student to lie about anything, according to police reports.
Police said that after the student complained about the two incidents, she sat down and wrote out three pages detailing what happened. Police said the teen is known to spend free time in school in Iwanicki’s classroom, working on graphics projects like T-shirts for the Warde bowling team.
On Nov. 2, she told police, she stayed after class to help clean up silk screening equipment with Iwanicki, when he accidentally poured cleaning solution on his pants.
“He said something like, ‘Aw look what I’ve done,’ ” she told police. “I have a nervous habit of not looking people in the eye when I talk; I glanced down to my feet but something caught my eye. I glanced down and saw that Mr. Iwanicki had his penis out of his pants. He didn’t do anything, did not move to cover up, no expression on his face.”
On Dec. 6, she was discussing with Iwanicki the designs for some T-shirts when, “He looked down, then swiveled his chair to the right at an awkward angle, as he was doing so I saw that his penis was again out of his pants,” according to her statement to police.
The student later texted a class friend about the incident, according to police reports. Police said the student told them Iwanicki never made overtures to touch her or sent her sexually suggestive texts or emails.
But she told police that once, when she was wearing a sleeveless shirt, he asked her, “Are those the muscles you beat your brother with?”
On another occasion, she told police, Iwanicki told her she was cute.
“I always thought I was ugly,” she told police.
An email to parents Monday from the school did not identify Iwanicki by name but said he was placed on administrative leave when the investigation began a month ago and has not been at the school or in contact with students.
“This action enabled the school district to ensure the safety of its students while also reserving immediate judgment on the employee,” the email states. Because of the ongoing investigation, school officials said they couldn’t comment any further and recommended that parents having any concerns about their child contact the student’s counselor or housemaster.
In a follow-up email from Warde Headmaster David Ebling on Tuesday Iwanicki was identified by name.
“... As you have likely heard, Mr. Iwanicki was recently arrested by the Fairfield Police Department. Prior to the arrest and immediately upon hearing of the allegations before the arrest, Mr. Iwanicki was placed on administrative leave. He will continue to be on administrative leave and out of the classroom until the investigation is concluded,” the email read.
“As this is an ongoing matter, we must allow the legal process to unfold without conjecture or interference. Moreover, because this situation involves a sensitive personnel matter relating to an employee, we are unable to share additional details with you at this time,” the email continued. “However, we can certainly understand your concerns over this situation and therefore want to provide you with this information at this time. We will provide you with more information in the future if we are able to do so.”
Warde is offering counseling to students “having difficulty processing this information.”