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Bethlehem cop who is a school resource officer accused of sex crimes against student

Bethlehem Police Headquarters
Will Oliver
The Bethlehem Police Department in June 2023.

UPDATE: School resource officer sexually assaulted 14-year-old in middle school locker room, police say

EASTON, Pa. – The Northampton County District Attorney’s Office plans to announce criminal charges Wednesday against a school resource officer charged with statutory sexual assault and related felonies.

The victim was a middle school student, according to the Bethlehem Area School District.

A spokesperson for District Attorney Stephen Baratta said Costas Alestas, 43, a Bethlehem police officer who is a school resource officer at East Hills Middle School in Bethlehem, is being charged with the following: statutory sexual assault, institutional sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, criminal use of a communications facility and invasion of privacy.

Alestas also is an East Hills soccer coach and has been placed on administrative leave by both the school district and the Bethlehem Police Department, according to a statement on the school district website.

A news conference will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday at Bethlehem City Hall. The charges will be filed Wednesday, said DA's spokeswoman Anna Thompson.

"The alleged inappropriate behavior violates community trust in our schools, undermines safety, and is illegal, intolerable, and inexcusable."
Bethlehem Area School District statement

'Violates community trust'

Bethlehem schools Superintendent Jack Silva said he could not comment and directed inquiries to an updated statement posted on the school district website.

"Upon receipt of information indicating an alleged relationship between a student and a Bethlehem Police Department School Resource Officer and soccer coach serving East Hills Middle School, the Bethlehem Area School District immediately began its investigation and notified all mandated agencies," the statement said without naming Alestas.

"The staff member was placed on administrative leave by both the BASD and Bethlehem Police Department. The alleged inappropriate behavior violates community trust in our schools, undermines safety, and is illegal, intolerable, and inexcusable.

"Our students' physical and emotional safety has been and will continue to be the BASD’s first priority. The BASD will provide counseling support as needed.

"The BASD remains committed to transparency and cooperation with all investigative and legal entities as it relates to this matter."

Bethlehem Mayor J. William Reynolds said he would withhold comment until after charges are filed Wednesday.

Bethlehem Police Chief Michelle Kott said she would release a statement Wednesday at the news conference after the charges are formally filed.

From the principal

East Hills Middle School Principal David Horvath sent a message to parents Tuesday:

"We are unable to confirm, deny, or provide any additional information regarding parent or public inquiries as personnel matters are confidential in nature, and the matter continues to be investigated as part of the legal case," he said. "Due to the sensitive nature of the investigations and legal processes in place, all questions related to details of this released information will be fielded through the BASD Superintendent’s Office.

"With this being said, the allegations are disturbing. We are equipped and ready to deploy additional resources and/or safe places to process any feelings of distress that may manifest for students upon hearing such information. Should your child be in need of additional support, please contact the East Hills Guidance Office at 610-867-0541 extension 44913."

Reporter Will Oliver contributed to this report.