Charges re-filed Friday say Christopher Stephens abused three of his former students during the 1990s
KIRKWOOD, Mo. — A former Kirkwood High School teacher already charged with abusing a student is now facing charges of abusing two more during the 1990s.
Kirkwood police said Christopher Stephens abused at least three of his students between 1992 and 1998 on Kirkwood school property — specifically his office, the drama department dressing room, a prop room as well as inside his home in Glendale, according to court documents.
A grand jury indicted Stephens, now 54, on Sept. 16 on five counts of abuse involving one victim.
Because St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell knew Stephens when they worked together at St. Louis Community College, St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar was appointed as a special prosecutor in the case.
The grand jury indictment was filed with the wrong jurisdiction, so prosecutors dropped the original charges and re-filed the case Friday to include the additional charges.
The new charges will have to go before another grand jury, which will decide whether to indict Stephens. Should he be indicted, the case can proceed to arraignment where he will enter a plea.
The documents support what former students have been telling the I-Team for months.
Stephens’s accusers said he groomed them and abused them in plain sight. They believe that school leaders knew, and didn’t do enough.
Former Kirkwood High School student Katie Pappageorge told the I-Team’s PJ Randhawa that Stephens abused her in the late ‘90s, starting when she was 12 years old. Stephens’ original indictment included charges in Pappageorge’s case alone.
The I-Team previously uncovered documents showing Stephens was allowed to resign in 1998 after two students reported abuse allegations to the Kirkwood High School’s then-principal. Stephens’s resignation and the surrender of his teaching certificate came with the stipulation that the district would not involve police or hold inquiries about the abuse allegations.
Stephens went on to teach Italian, communication, and theater at St. Louis Community College, where he took students on annual study abroad trips to Europe.
Last year, Stephens the St. Louis City Board of Aldermen honored Stephens with a resolution praising his decades of teaching.
Here is a summary of the allegations outlined in court documents involving the three victims:
Victim 1: In the summer of 1992, Stephens abused her on Kirkwood High School campus when she was 16 years old. He was 22 years old at the time.
Victim 2: From the spring of 1994 through the fall of 1994, Stephens abused her in a dressing room of the auditorium at Kirkwood High School, in his Glendale home. She was 16. He was 24.
Victim 3: In the fall of 1997, Stephens abused her in his office at Kirkwood High School, and during winter break between December 1997 and 1998. She was 14. He was 27.