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Music Teacher Is Charged With Taking Teenagers on Trips to Abuse Them

The music teacher’s classes at the strict, no-nonsense reform school in the woods of upstate New York would seem to be a teenager’s respite amid all the rules, a place for expression and discovery.

But a criminal indictment unsealed Thursday portrayed that teacher as a domineering and abusive tyrant who, during one-on-one trips away from school and outside the state, raped his teenage students or forced them into sexual activity.

The indictment follows years of lawsuits that have portrayed the Family Foundation School, a small boarding academy in rural Delaware County, as something closer to an unsupervised, violent prison.

The teacher, Paul Geer, 56, was arrested Wednesday evening in Hancock, N.Y., where he lives a short distance from the site of the school, which closed in 2014. He was charged with six counts related to bringing three different children across state lines to engage in unlawful sexual activity.

Mr. Geer pleaded not guilty at an arraignment before a federal magistrate judge in Syracuse, N.Y., on Thursday, and was denied release pending a detention hearing set for Monday.

For former students at the school, his arrest vindicated many years of online campaigns and legal battles involving that place and, specifically, that man.

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