Andrew Wolf, the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy teacher who was arrested in October 2021 on charges related to child pornography, was sentenced to nearly 39 years in federal prison on Thursday.
Andrew Wolf, the Springside Chestnut Hill Academy teacher who was arrested in October 2021 on charges related to child pornography, was sentenced to nearly 39 years in federal prison on Thursday. His 39-year term will be followed by a five-year term of supervised release where he will report to a federal probation officer. He was also ordered to pay $200,000 in restitution and fines.
A statement released by David Delkins, who was appointed SCH’s Head of School in July 2022 - nine months after Wolf’s arrest - called the sentencing “sobering.”
“The news about Mr. Wolf has been difficult for the community since it first broke in October 2021,” wrote Delkins, who added that he had been in communication with the FBI. “Our school counselors and psychologists have consistently been available to any student needing support. They will remain available for any student who needs help processing this most recent news.”
The sentencing, which is scheduled for next month, is likely the final chapter of a year-and-a-half long saga about the predatory online behavior of the disgraced former teacher and his accomplice from upstate New York. And it is one that the SCH community is eager to put in the past.
“We hope today’s sentencing can provide a measure of closure, and we will continue to do everything we can to keep our students safe and provide the resources the community needs to heal,” SCH said in a statement.
Ralph Hirshorn, a 1956 alumnus of Chestnut Hill Academy, one of two schools that merged to form SCH, said he had been impressed by the way the school handled “this unfortunate incident” and did not think it would have any lasting negative impact on the institution.
“The first I knew about it was from the school itself – they were totally transparent about it and disclosed it immediately,” Hirshorn said. “It was really a very straightforward, I’d even say modern, response. In the past, you might have expected them to say a little something about it while also trying to sweep it under the rug. They didn’t do that. They laid it all out there and didn’t hold anything back.”
Will Standish, a 2010 SCH graduate who had Wolf as a math teacher in eighth grade, agreed.
“I actually feel like once the evidence came out, I think they handled it rather well,” Standish said. “It seems like they have been – at least from the notices they sent out – that they’re focusing their messaging on protecting students.”
Standish said news of Wolf’s predatory behavior is something that’s “shaken up” many of his SCH classmates, as well as himself.
“Since the arrest in 2021, it’s something that my community of SCH friends have checked in with each other about,” he said. “No one would have expected that man of being capable of those things.”
The news, Standish said, made him “reevaluate what at the time I perceived as a fairly normal middle school experience.”
At the time of his arrest in October 2021, Wolf was living in Roxborough with his six month old child on parental leave from the school. He taught at the school for 18 years.
Four months later in January 2022, investigators arrested 19-year-old Kray Strange of Carthage, NY. alleging that he was Wolfe’s accomplice – and charged him with manufacturing and distributing child pornography, and willfully causing, aiding and abetting the manufacture and distribution of child pornography.
Court documents allege that Wolf used an instant messaging app called Telegram to communicate “with other like-minded child predators,” and that he began using Telegram as early as February 2018 to communicate with another user, known only as “Mr. Pickles,” who also purported to be a teacher. Wolf and Mr. Pickles messaged about “their shared sexual interest in minor boys,” the document said, “including their own students.”
According to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the mother of one of those students, who didn’t provide her name to protect her child’s identity, testified in Thursday’s court hearing. She talked about the effect Wolf’s actions had on her son, who had unknowingly been one of his targets.
“He spiraled into depression and self-harm,” the mother said of her son, according to the article. “He began cutting his arms to deal with the emotions he’d never experienced before.”
According to the same article, the boy, who was 13 at the time of the incident, now seems to be on the road to recovery.