A Montgomery Township detective was commended Monday night for his investigative work that led to the arrest and prosecution of a former North Penn School District vice principal.
James Reape was honored for his exemplary work in the recent case againt Charles Hurst, a former vice principal at Pennbrook Middle School.
On March 16, Hurst entered an open plea of guilty to two counts of corruption of a minor and possession of a controlled substance.
Chief Richard Brady said Reape was assigned on Dec. 19, 2010, to investigate a relationship between a minor and Hurst.
"The investigation disclosed that Hurst had befriended the minor in school and the relationship grew personal," Brady said.
He said the parents of the 15-year-old boy entrusted Hurst regularly with the custody and care of their son.
"Hurst had spent hours with the minor in activities such as working out, distance running, trips to Ski Mountain, 76ers games, studying help and playing games," Brady said. "Hurst was very generous with the family and routinely purchased items for the minor. He gave him an allowance."
Brady said the relationship progressed and Hurst began to have inappropriate communications via text messages with the minor.
"He would attempt to control the minor," Brady said.
Reape was able to identify a second victim of Hurst, Brady said.
"He continued with this investigation in spite of local citizen support on Hurst's behalf," he said.
Hurst was subsequently charged with corruption of minors and possession of a controlled substance. In the latter charge, police found a loaded gun and cocaine in Hurst's vehicle.
"As a direct result of his outstanding investigative and interview skills, attention to detail and perseverance, it resulted in the successful arrest and prosecution of this individual," Brady said. "His professionalism and actions are a contribution to Montgomery Township Police Department."
Prior to reading the commendation, supervisors chairman Robert Birch thanked Reape for his service.
"I think we have one of the finest police departments, bar none," Birch said. "Thank you for all your hard work."
"Thank you for keeping all of our children safe," chimed in supervisor Candyce Chimera.
Supervisor Joe Walsh said he has known Reape for years and spoke highly of his dedication to the students at Bridle Path Elementary.
"We appreciate that detective," Walsh said. "You really, really care about the kids. I can see that. You did an outstanding job on this case and deserve to be commended."
Reape humbly thanked the supervisors and Brady and shook hands with officials before leaving the meeting room with his supportive colleagues in tow.