Bethlehem police officer allegedly sexually assaulted a middle school student on multiple occasions, including in a boy’s locker room during a school dance, authorities say Lehigh Valley Regional News

BETHLEHEM, Pa. — A former Bethlehem police officer and school resource officer in the Bethlehem Area School District is accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old student, officials said at a news conference Wednesday.

Costas Alestas, 43, is charged with sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a person under 16, aggravated indecent assault, sexual contact with a student, criminal use of a communication facility and invasion of privacy, according to online court records.

Alestas, of Easton, was an officer with the Bethlehem Police Department but was fired after an investigation, Bethlehem Police Chief Michelle Kott said at Wednesday’s news conference.

He was named school resource officer at East Hills Middle School, where he also served as football coach. The district said it learned of allegations that the officer had a relationship with a female student and immediately began investigating. BASD offers students advice if needed.

A former Bethlehem police officer and school resource officer in the Bethlehem Area School District is accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old student, officials said at a news conference Wednesday.

The victim, an East Hills Middle School student, told police in a May 2 interview that she had been involved in ongoing communications with Alestas while she was in school and that Alestas gave her his personal cell phone number, Bethlehem Police Capt. Nicholas. said Lechman at the press conference.

Lechman said the communications included, among other things, conversations about sexual acts.

The communication led to the two engaging in sexual acts, both at school during the school day and in Alestas’ personal vehicles outside of school hours, Lechman said.

Lechman said Alestas attacked the student during a school dance while Alestas was on duty and wearing a uniform, authorities said. According to court documents, Alestas sexually assaulted the student in the boy’s locker room during the dance.

An upskirt video of a second student was found on Alestas’ phone, authorities said at the press conference.

According to the Northampton County District Attorney’s Office, there is no indication that there are additional student victims. However, if anyone has further information, they can contact Bethlehem Police at 610-865-7162.

We spoke with a parent who attended the press conference, wished to remain anonymous and has several children in East Hills.

“It’s unbelievable for the students, I guess overwhelming for lack of a better word, because right now they’re trying to decide who can I trust?” the parent said.

Kott said that’s a question that may never be answered.

“I don’t think there’s an answer to how to prevent this and how to definitely prevent something like this from happening again,” Chief Kott said.

But District Attorney Stephen Baratta said there are guidelines that could help.

“School resource officers are prohibited from being in an office or other secluded location to meet privately with a child,” Baratta said. “At this point, talk about how we can better vet the people we use as SROs.”

Alestas is now the second school resource officer in Northampton County to be charged with a sex crime against a student in less than a month. The latest incident occurred at Easton Area High School, where a Palmer Township officer was charged for allegedly exposing himself to a minor. Chief Kott said they don’t want these incidents to tarnish the reputation of other officers.

“We want them to see the good in the Bethlehem Police Department and not let the actions of one individual define who we are,” Chief Kott said.

Baratta said there may be additional victims who have not come forward, so the investigation is still ongoing. He suggested that Bethlehem police and the Bethlehem Area School District arrange a meeting to discuss future policy changes.

Alestas was arraigned Wednesday afternoon and is being held on $500,000 bail. He was taken to the Northampton County Jail.