South Medford High School teacher arrested on sex abuse charges
A physical education teacher at South Medford High School suspected of sexually abusing a female student was arrested at his home Thursday, according to a Medford police news release.
Noah Scott Berman, 30, was arrested on two counts of second-degree sex abuse, three counts of third-degree sex abuse, luring a minor and tampering with a witness. The tampering charge stemmed from detectives learning the suspect allegedly told the victim “not to disclose the relationship to investigators,” the release said.
Berman was booked in the Jackson County Jail on $45,000 bail after the arrest at his home on Kaufmann Way in Medford, the release said. He was no longer listed in the jail Friday, jail records showed.
Police received an anonymous report April 25 through the Safe Oregon tip line that Berman was involved in a sexual relationship with a female juvenile attending the school. The release said the relationship started in November 2019 and that it “ultimately became sexual in nature.” Berman and the student allegedly communicated primarily through the Snapchat social media app, the release said.
Berman was placed on paid administrative leave April 27, according to the press release, which Donnie Frazier, principal of South Medford High, said in a schoolwide email to families Friday morning is standard under Oregon law.
“This situation is deeply disturbing for all of us,” Frazier wrote. He said he was made aware of Berman’s arrest shortly after it happened Thursday.
“My primary concern today and my reason for writing to you is the well-being of the students at South High School,” his email said. “During quarantine, it may be more challenging for us to help but we are committed to doing whatever we can to support students and families during this time.”
Counselors were available to students and families on call at 541-581-0189. Students were asked to leave a message to receive a call back if they couldn’t get through immediately. Email addresses for specific counselors were also made available.
Frazier reminded parents and students that they can report tips at any time through the anonymous Safe Oregon tip line by calling 844-472-3367 or texting 844-472-3367. The Medford Police Department 24/7 tip line can be reached at 541-770-4784. For assistance or information in Spanish, families can call the high school at 541-842-3638.
Medford School District released a statement through spokeswoman Natalie Hurd on Friday afternoon.
“At all of our schools in the Medford School District, the safety and wellbeing of our students is our utmost priority, and any acts that threaten that safety and wellbeing of students are never tolerated,” it read.
Reach Mail Tribune reporter Kaylee Tornay at email@example.com or 541-776-4497. Follow her on Twitter @ka_tornay.Reach web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @RyanPfeil.