Mannheim teacher arrested on sex abuse charges
June 15, 2006
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command agents arrested a Mannheim High School physical education teacher Wednesday morning on charges he sexually abused three underage females.
The agents apprehended Shawn O’Neal at the Community Sports arena around 11 a.m. at the request of German law enforcement officials who had been investigating the allegations, according to a Department of Defense schools news release.
The Army turned O’Neal over to German authorities, said Dennis Bohannon, a DODDS-Europe spokesman.
O’Neal has taught at Mannheim High for almost two years and coached cheerleading and boys soccer.
He is accused of sexually abusing two teenage girls who were students at the school at the time of the allegations, as well as a 13-year-old Croatian girl, who was not a student at Mannheim High. One of the Mannheim students is still in high school, officials said.
School officials do not believe there are any additional allegations of abuse, but officials “strongly recommend” that parents in the Mannheim area talk with their children.
“We haven’t seen anything that would lead us to believe that there are any other cases,” Bohannon said. “One of the key points we want to make to parents — just to ensure our estimates our correct — we would like our parents to talk to our students and if they have any serious suspicions to contact CID.”
The school is offering counseling and assistance through a school crisis team to the girls who were allegedly abused. The team includes a psychologist, a nurse, the principal and school counselors.
A person who knows O’Neal tipped off police about the abuse allegations on Sunday night, sparking an investigation by German authorities with the help of Army CID agents, Bohannon said. The girls allege that the abuse occurred in a variety of locations, including a school bus and an office, he said.
Army investigators talked to the three girls and turned over their statements to German investigators.
O’Neal was allowed to continue teaching while he was under investigation. However, school officials made sure another adult was with O’Neal during the entire school day, Bohannon said.
“At no time was Mr. O’Neal allowed to be alone with a student after school administrators became aware of his allegations,” he added.