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Former bowling coach arrested on child pornography charges

Filed in Archive by on December 21, 2016

The following message was emailed to district parents on Wednesday, Dec. 21:

Officials at the Bethlehem Central School District learned today that a former boys bowling coach, Marvin J. Sontz, was arrested by the Bethlehem Police Department on Tuesday, December 20, on two felony charges of possessing and disseminating child pornography and a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a minor. Sontz has been remanded to the Albany County jail in lieu of bail.

The charges stem from allegations that a minor child received a pornographic image of another minor child sent by Sontz on a social media platform on Monday, December 19. The police, in their Dec. 21 statement on the arrest, do not believe the image is of a local individual.

This case is being investigated by the Bethlehem Police Department with the assistance of the New York State Police Computer Crimes Unit.

Sontz was a paid coach of the Bethlehem Central boys’ bowling team for several years, most recently during the 2014-15 season. Sontz is also owner of Del Lanes bowling center, where the district’s bowling teams, both boys and girls, practice and compete. The police department also indicated, in its statement, that they have no evidence to date of any criminal activity taking place at the bowling alley.

The district is relocating or rescheduling all scheduled practices and games that were set to take place at Del Lanes as the police continue to investigate this criminal matter. The district is working closely with the Bethlehem Police Department and will continue to do so as this case moves forward. No activities will be scheduled at Del Lanes for the foreseeable future.

The safety and well-being of our students is the district’s top priority. Any student who may have had contact or correspondence with Mr. Sontz that made the student feel uncomfortable is encouraged to tell a parent, teacher or other trusted adult immediately. Parents with any information related to this matter are encouraged to contact the Police Department at 518-439-9973.

This news may come as a shock to some of our students who have had contact with Mr. Sontz in a coaching capacity or in the community.  Students who have questions or want to discuss their concerns are encouraged to speak to their school counselor, school nurse, or building administrator.