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Former teacher to change plea in sex abuse case

A former Crater High School teacher will change his plea next week in a case alleging he sexually abused an underage student.

Jeffrey Robert Zundel, 54, was arrested in October 2015. He pleaded not guilty to 11 felony counts of second-degree sexual abuse alleging multiple instances of sexual intercourse and sexual contact with a victim younger than 18 between March and June 2015. He also faces a misdemeanor charge of third-degree sexual abuse alleging he touched the victim's breasts.

Zundel taught humanities at Crater Renaissance Academy and is married to Medford School District Chief Academic Officer Michelle Zundel.

He will change his plea next Friday, Jackson County Circuit Court records show.

A three-day trial scheduled for next week has been called off, after Zundel's defense lawyers filed notice Wednesday that their client "will change his plea" Aug. 25, according to court records. Further information on the plea change won't be available until the hearing.

Central Point School District removed Zundel from the classroom in October 2015, and he was fired Dec. 22, following an internal investigation that found "gross neglect of duty and unfitness for duty."

Zundel is also named as a defendant in a civil lawsuit filed by the alleged victim in U.S. District Court in Medford, which claims the school district had prior knowledge of inappropriate sexual behavior involving Zundel and the then-17-year-old student.

Lawyers representing Zundel and the school district have denied wrongdoing in the lawsuit, and a civil trial is slated for August 2018.

Jeffrey Zundel