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Band Instructor from Bethlehem Accused of Sexually Assaulting Female Student

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A former percussion instructor for a high school marching band in Montgomery County is facing charges after an ex-student came forward to tell police of a sexual assault that allegedly occurred in 2008. Perry John Boucher, of Bethlehem, appears to have also held instructor-type positions with other marching bands in Bucks and Montgomery counties, including the Palisades Marching Pirates band at Palisades High School.

Est. Read Time: 4 mins

By Keith Heffintrayer | North Penn Now

Note: This story has been updated with additional information from Palisades High School principal Rich Heffernan.

A former percussion instructor for a high school marching band in Montgomery County is facing charges after an ex-student came forward to tell police of a sexual assault that allegedly occurred in 2008.

Perry John Boucher, 49, of Bethlehem, has been charged with one felony count of endangering the welfare of children and one misdemeanor count of corruption of minors in connection with a 22-month investigation by the Souderton Borough Police Department. As of Wednesday Boucher was being held at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in lieu of $5,000 cash bail.

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Credit: Keith Heffintrayer / North Penn Now

The police investigation began in September 2021 after a former female student contacted police alleging she had been sexually assaulted by Boucher during the 2008-2009 school year at the old Souderton Area High School. Boucher worked for the district as a part-time instructor from sometime prior to 2002 through 2012, police said.

The former student told police she met Boucher at band practice in 2007, when Boucher noted she seemed distracted and offered his friendship and said he could be a good listener, according to charging documents. The student began to talk to Boucher about her personal problems, and he began providing her gifts, including clothing, a necklace, an iPod and a cell phone, police said.

Boucher continued to communicate with the student via text and through MySpace, and while the initial conversations were described as professional by police, they eventually evolved into more personal and sexual discussions, investigators said. Messages from Boucher became constant throughout the day and became controlling in nature, and included guilt trips when the student wouldn’t immediately respond, according to the criminal complaint.

By the start of the 2008 school year, the relationship had become physical, police said, with Boucher sexually assaulting the girl–who was still a juvenile at the time–at least twice in a janitor’s closet, according to the allegations in the complaint.

Police also allege that Boucher gave the teen four or five oxycodone pills when she mentioned she had a headache, which she forced herself to throw up after learning what they were.

Court records show that charges were filed against Boucher on June 14, and he was subsequently arraigned on June 22, at which point he was remanded to county jail after failing to post bail. He is currently waiting for his preliminary hearing to be scheduled.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Meghan Carney.

North Penn Now reached out to Souderton Borough Police for additional information and to ascertain why sexual assault charges weren’t filed. In response, investigators said the institutional sexual assault statute–which they said could have applied in this investigation–was not enacted until 2012, and they cannot retroactively charge under the statute.

In response to a request for comment from North Penn Now, Souderton Area School District Superintendent Frank T. Gallagher said he could only confirm that Boucher worked as a part-time employee with the band program from 2002 through 2012, adding that there was no record of any such complaints while he was an employee with the district.

An online search shows a student-launched petition to retain Boucher was created after his contract with the Souderton Area School District was not renewed in 2012. Boucher also appears to have later filled marching band instructor-type roles at several other high schools in Bucks and Montgomery counties, including the role of Battery Percussion Arranger for the Palisades Marching Pirates band at Palisades High School in 2018-2019.

In an email Thursday to members of the Palisades High School community, principal Rich Heffernan said the district “immediately investigated what connection, if any, (Boucher) had with our district” following initial news reports about his arrest.

“We have confirmed that Mr. Boucher was never an employee, official volunteer or an ‘instructor’ at Palisades,” Heffernan wrote. “He did work directly with Mr. (Abel) Maldonado (then marching band director) during the 2018-19 marching band season to compose music for the percussion section, which he gave to Mr. Maldonado for our students to perform. In that capacity, Mr. Boucher would not have met with students directly.”

Boucher is being represented by Scott M. Wilhelm, Esq., of the Winegar, Wilhelm, Glynn and Roemersma law firm. When reached for comment, Wilhelm stated that Boucher is innocent until proven guilty by the Commonwealth and his firm is “investigating the veracity of these old charges.”

A further search of court records shows Boucher was arrested in Bethlehem in August 2022 on charges of possession of child pornography and criminal use of a communication facility. Boucher is being represented by George Heitczman, Esq., in that case, which has a status conference scheduled for Aug. 21 at the Lehigh County Courthouse in Allentown.

North Penn Now will follow up on that case once we have received the criminal complaint from the local district court.

All suspects and defendants are innocent until proven guilty. This story was compiled using court records and the affidavit of probable cause.

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Keith Heffintrayer

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