Lehigh County substitute teacher charged with groping teen girl with autism

LOWER MACUNGIE TOWNSHIP, Pa. - A teacher was taken into custody after police responded to a concerning call at a department store in Lehigh County last week.

Police say 30-year-old Jared Matthew Gerard sexually assaulted a 17-year-old girl with autism inside a Marshall's store in Lower Macungie Township.

She told officers that Gerard touched her between the legs while hiding in a clothing rack, according to court documents.

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The suspect fled when the victim screamed. A witness tried to detain him, but was unsuccessful.

Gerard, who has worked at various Lehigh County schools as a substitute teacher, was arrested after police stopped his car in the parking lot.

Clothing and a toy from the store were also found in his car, police say.

Gerard is charged with Unlawful Contact with a Minor – Sexual Offenses and Indecent Assault without the Consent of Other.