WESTERVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) — A high school teacher and athletic coach has resigned after the release of a video of him talking online with a female claiming to be underage.
Justin Christoff, a math teacher at Westerville Central High School, was placed on administrative leave Thursday as the district began an investigation into the video, which circulated among students. Spokesperson Greg Viebranz said Christoff resigned Friday afternoon, effective immediately.
“The conversation captured in this video is disturbing,” Superintendent John Kellogg said in a press release. “The immediacy of our school and district leadership teams to address this situation resulted in its quick resolution.”
The video featured Christoff talking suggestively to a female after she claimed to be 15. Viebranz said the female in the video is not a Westerville student, and her age remains unknown.
Christoff’s name did not show up in the school district’s employee directory as of Thursday evening, but a website for Westerville Central’s girls track and field team listed him as a shot put and discus coach, the head freshmen football coach and a math teacher.
Jenice Tate, a training coordinator with the Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio, said there warning signs teenagers should look for while on the internet.
“I would advise young people if there are people that are on your site constantly making comments that you are not familiar with — or if they make you uncomfortable, that is a potential red flag,” said Tate.
In an email sent to district families Thursday, Westerville Central Principal Dawn Sayre said the district had notified police of the video.
The Genoa Township Police said in a Facebook Post Friday that although the department reviewed the video, they would not be pursuing an investigation or charges.
“It definitely appears inappropriate, and even creepy, but not enough to meet the elements of a crime,” the post read.
Viebranz said the district has notified the Ohio Department of Education of the video and Christoff’s resignation.
If someone experiences sexual violence — or anything that makes them uncomfortable — Tate said she encourages students to confide in someone they trust.
“If something does not feel right, you want to tell a safe adult,” she said.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, there are resources available.
- SARNCO 24-hour sexual assault helpline: 614-267-7020
- SARNCO aftercare advocacy: 614-788-4739
- Ohio Domestic Violence Network: 614-781-9651