Trumansburg Teacher Under Investigation
Christine Ibert, an English teacher at Charles. O. Dickerson High School in Trumansburg, is currently under investigation by state police after allegedly carrying on an inappropriate relationship with one of her students for at least a year. Ibert, who is in her mid-40s, was put on paid administrative leave on Oct. 6 of this year, according to the minutes of the Trumansburg Central School District Board of Education meeting on Oct. 16. She is entering her 19th year with the Trumansburg school district.
Senior investigator with the New York State Police, Richard Haas, confirmed that state troopers were investigating allegations of an inappropriate relationship between a teacher and a student. Haas said that the nature of the investigation right now is for charges of Sexual Assault and Endangering the Welfare of a Minor, but the investigation could bring up other charges.
The parents of the student involved, who will not be identified because he is a minor, have reason to believe that the relationship started as early as November of 2016.
The parents are currently looking for a lawyer to help them pursue a civil suit and would like to get a restraining order against Ibert. They said Children’s Protection Services were notified of the relationship when Ibert’s husband, Matthew Herman, found out about his wife’s affair and told a mandated reporter (someone who has regular contact with vulnerable individuals and are therefore legally required to report suspected or observed abuse) at the Ithaca City School District, where he works. From there, CPS called the administration of Charles O. Dickerson High School, who then notified the state police.
The student’s father said he was notified of the investigation involving his son when a family friend in law enforcement called him. He brought his son to the state police soon after to give a statement.
The parents said state police are currently working on getting Verizon to release text messages between Ibert and the student from the student’s previous phone. Haas confirmed that phone records have been obtained as part of the investigation. Text messages between Ibert and the student from Nov. 4 to Nov. 12, obtained from a source close to the family, that are being considered as part of the investigation indicate that Ibert was banned from the TCSD campus but planned to fight that decision with the help of a new lawyer. In the text messages Ibert refers to superintendent Bell as “that skinny bitch” that she would “definitely take on.”
Ibert confesses, in the text messages, to feeling guilty about being with the student, and the possible harm their relationship could cause him in the future. But in later messages she tells the student he isn’t like other students his age.
“With all this bullshit that has happened over the past month I keep saying to myself that it’s not going to be like one of those stories in the news where the teacher was with a student,” Ibert said. “Because you are not a typical [redacted] year old by a long shot.”
In the hundreds of messages Ibert sent to the student over the week, she tells him numerous times that she is in love with him, often using pet names like baby, honey, and my love. At one point she even does his homework, using a Google Doc to write and edit a paper for the student to turn in.
At several points Ibert updates the student on how her divorce proceedings are going.
Several times she suggested that the student imagine causing Herman physical harm to motivate himself.
Ibert often asked the student who he was with and what he was doing. The text messages indicate that she had intimate knowledge of the student’s schedule, including when his after-school activities were. She even reminds him what day he has physical education class.
The last text messages Ibert sent to the student that week are in reaction to learning that the student’s father is bringing him to the police station.
When the student does not answer her initial messages, where she reminds him she has children and she will do whatever the student’s father asks, Ibert continues her pleas.
Haas is asking for anyone with information pertinent to the investigation to contact the state police.
Ibert did not respond to a request for comment on this story.Jamie Swinnerton