National News

Local teacher resigns after arrest for lewd and indecent conduct in Forest Park bathroom

Posted July 25

— A beloved teacher in one local school district suddenly stopped going to classes this past spring.

After getting a tip to look into why, New 4 Investigative Reporter Lauren Trager started digging and learned he's charged with a crime that has some people shocked.

St. Louis Police say back in April, four people entered a bathroom and started engaging in sexual activity.

They were arrested for lewd and indecent conduct. According to the police report, all were caught partially nude.

It was 2:45 in the afternoon.

"That's just disturbing," said Allan Toma.

Toma traveled all the way to Australia to visit Forest Park, but didn't expect to have to hear something like this.

He, and others say consenting adults can do whatever they want: just not in public.

"I wouldn't want my kids to be exposed to something that. Especially at a young age."

Other people at the park say they, too, can't believe it.

"Choice of location makes it even more alarming," said Sean Thomas, who was riding his bike in the park.

Still others though more alarmed by one of the people police say was in that bathroom.

Now-former Webster Groves high-school choir teacher Scott Kinworthy.

I don't know what to say to that, shocking, wasn't expecting something like that.

Kinworthy is well-known around Webster Groves high school, teaching choir for 15 years.

In fact, on the very day of his arrest, according to the school's calendar, Kinworthy was set to lead students in a choir concert at 7:00 p.m. at the high school.

But the concert was cancelled because Kinworthy couldn't be there.

"The way you supported me through personal problems has been fantastic," Kinworthy said.

Kinworthy recently took to YouTube.

Never mentioning the arrest specifically, he announced: "I had to make the decision to resign my position at Webster as the choir teachers."

We wanted to speak with the school district about this and we asked them to provide comment. A district spokesperson replied saying sorry but no.

The district did confirm that Kinworthy resigned his 90-thousand a year job for personal reasons.

Kinworthy spoke with me via Facebook, declining our request for an on-camera interview, saying it was a quote "embarrassing situation."

His attorney also told News 4 he couldn't comment, but said some of the facts the police have are wrong.

Police declined to speak for this story, citing on-going enforcement efforts.

Statistics obtained by News 4 show Kinworthy is far from alone in facing these types of charges.

St. Louis city prosecutors filed just 18 lewd and indecent conduct charges in 2015, but 83 in 2016.

So far this year, they've filed 42.

Park go-ers say they're grateful for the crackdown.

"I don't know what the laws are here, but if it's possible, to prosecute them to let it be known that it's not acceptable, Toma said.

News 4 reached out to a number of parents for the Webster Groves district. None wanted to talk on camera, but one parent told me that Kinworthy was an excellent teacher, who will be missed.

Kinworthy and others charged alongside him head back to court next month.

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