Lemont man charged with stalking State College high school student

mdawson@centredaily.comJuly 19, 2013 

— A 25-year-old Lemont man known as a student athlete at State College Area High School, a service-trip organizer, a student leader hopeful at Penn State and entrepreneur has a new tag: accused stalker.

David A. Adewumi, 25, was charged this week with stalking a 17-year-old girl with whom police said he developed a relationship, which turned sexual, after visiting State High and sitting in on one of her classes this past school year. His arrest Thursday follows a three-month, multiagency investigation that started in April when the teenager went to the high school principal and reported her fears about Adewumi, the charging documents show.

The girl told police in an interview that she “didn’t feel safe at school,” and the allegations against Adewumi could raise questions about security at the sprawling, two-building State High in light of the shootings by a gunman in Newtown, Conn., and how Jerry Sandusky was able to get unfettered access to Central Mountain High School near Lock Haven. The local schools superintendent said Adewumi was banned from the premises immediately after the teen’s report came in.

Adewumi graduated from State High in 2005 and is listed on Penn State’s directory as a student majoring in Spanish. But the nature of his visit to his high school alma mater and the classroom, as well as which teacher’s classroom he was in and how often he visited were not described in the criminal complaint. One teacher, whose name was redacted from the charging documents, saw Adewumi in the school on April 18, told him to leave and later told the young man over the phone to “just let it go” if he was having girlfriend issues.

The girl was granted a protection from abuse order against Adewumi in May, and the charging documents show that Adewumi kept contacting her through text messages and occasionally running into her.

Adewumi, who ran unsuccessfully in 2011 for the president of Penn State’s undergraduate student association, is being held in the Centre County Correctional Facility on $50,000 bail, and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for next week. He will face two misdemeanor stalking charges and two summary counts of harassment.

Online court records do not show that he has an attorney yet.

Police interviewed the girl several times, and at some point State College police gave the investigation to state police at the Rockview barracks. The charging documents do not show Adewumi was interviewed before his arrest.

State College Area Superintendent Bob O’Donnell said he could not discuss student or personnel issues, but he said the matter was handled immediately after it was reported.

“As soon as the concern was raised, the person in question was banned from our high school campus,” O’Donnell said.

O’Donnell said the district is working on ways to make State High more secure, “knowing it is a campus model” with two buildings. Visitors to classrooms must be approved by building principals, and the visitors are not allowed to be alone with students, he said, though he declined to discuss Adewumi’s visits.

“When we arrange for collaboration with folks outside of our faculty to come into our schools, it requires the teacher to work with the principal for approval so there’s checks and balances in place,” he said. “We want meaningful learning experiences to be taken advantage of, but we simply want to ensure ... that safety is prioritized.”

The district’s visitors policy requires people to register in each school office.

Police said the teenager knew of Adewumi previously, but it was in January when he began visiting the school and sitting in on her afternoon classes.

“I only knew of him through church,” she told police in an interview in May. “We didn’t start communicating until after he introduced himself at school. Then we exchanged numbers.”

Two days after they exchanged cellphone numbers in mid-January, someone sent her flowers at school. She called the florist and learned the flowers came from Adewumi, police said.

In February, she met with Adewumi at the Barnes & Noble bookstore in College Township for a school project, and later that month was when they had consensual sex, she told police.

In mid-March, Adewumi began attending church again and would send her text messages during the service. Around that time, he was encouraging her to emancipate herself her parents.

The teenager began to feel pressured by Adewumi, and she thought he’d become obsessed with their relationship, she told police, according to the charging documents. The girl told police Adewumi’s text-messaging was “relentless.”

Police said things got worse in April, when the text messages and phone calls increased even more, and Adewumi visited her more often at the high school.

The teen told police she called things off with Adewumi at that point, and she said she notified him in person by text messages and emails. She said she told Adewumi she’d tell her father, and Adewumi threatened her that “revenge is sweet” if she went through with it.

After the breakup, Adewumi kept trying to contact her, police said.

Adewumi showed up at her bus stop April 10, wearing sunglasses and a hooded sweatshirt, and saw her hug a male friend, according to the charging documents.

“About 15 minutes later, people on one side of the circle (of friends) stopped talking, and I turned around and he was standing right behind me,” she told police. “I was so disturbed.”

She told police that Adewumi questioned her about the hug and wanted to talk with her. When she tried walking away — four times — he allegedly tried to block her, the charges say.

Adewumi tried to contact her two more times, police said — once inside the school in April and another time at her work.

Police said Adewumi then resorted to telling her he’d find her home address from their church’s directory.

The girl went to State High Principal Curtis Johnson on April 18 because she said was scared. “I didn’t feel safe at school,” she told police.

Police said Johnson told the school’s security that Adewumi was not allowed on school property.

In May, while the PFA was in effect, Adewumi allegedly sent her anonymous emails, and in June, she saw him at their church and on Penn State’s campus. Adewumi also allegedly sent a text message, written in Spanish, on June 17.

Adewumi was among a group of Penn State students in 2011 who developed OneSchool, a smartphone app for Penn State’s campus. The students got $100,000 from private investors after a trip to Silicon Valley, Calif., and The Wall Street Journal reported their success.

Before that, Adewumi helped organize a service trip to Haiti in 2010 after an earthquake devastated the Caribbean island country.

After graduating high school in 2005, he went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. In high school, he played football and ran track.

Mike Dawson can be reached at 231-4616. Follow him on Twitter @MikeDawsonCDT.

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