Who is Seth Reich? Philly teacher held for sexually grooming girl, 17, with private acting lessons
WEST CHESTER, PENNSYLVANIA: A West Chester acting teacher is accused of grooming a 17-year-old student into a sexual relationship, according to the Chester County District Attorney's office.
Seth Reich, 40, of Downingtown, was arrested after the victim, who is now 19 years old, reported to West Goshen police on June 26, that she had been in a sexual relationship with her acting teacher back in 2019, when she was a student at Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School Center for Performing and Fine Arts (PLCS) in West Chester. According to authorities, the victim and the accused exchanged phone numbers in March 2019 when she was taking an acting class. After that, Reich allegedly began giving her private acting lessons and contacted her via texts. They also reportedly ate lunch together.
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Things between them accelerated in May 2019, when Reich allegedly asked the victim to come to his office for private acting lessons. According to the DA's office, after she arrived at his office, Reich kissed her and asked her to perform oral sex on him. They also engaged in vaginal intercourse. The alleged sexual abuse continued until June 2019, when the victim graduated from PLCS, as Reich began pulling the girl out of class numerous times for the next month. Till then, all the sexual abuse occurred in the Reich's office, authorities said. However, the suspect is said to have continued to engage in sexual activity with the victim even after she graduated. Between June 2019 and March 2021, the two had consensual sex more than 100 times in various locations, according to the DA's office. They also exchanged thousands of text messages, videos and photos, which were recovered from the victim's phone.
Who is Seth Reich?
According to Daily Local News, Seth Reich started his tenure as an acting teacher at the Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School in August 2017, after getting a master’s degree in Fine Arts from Columbia University. It is unclear if the school has subjected him to any disciplinary action following his arrest.
Reich is also the co-founder and artistic director at the local independent Phoenix Theatre of Chester Springs. He is married to the company’s development director, Jessica Myhr. According to the company’s website, Reich “has established himself as a theatre artist and educator with over twenty years of experience in the industry.” His profile boasts of experience working with numerous theater companies and educational institutions including the Actors’ Shakespeare Company, the American Repertory Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts, and the New York Film Academy. He has also acted in theater, television, film, and voice-over.
The police said Reich told the minor victim he knew their relationship was wrong, but that, “he couldn’t help it at the time.” He has been charged with institutional sexual assault, corruption of minors, and unlawful contact with a minor -- all felonies. He is being held at Chester County Prison after failing to post a $25,000 cash bail. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 12.
Authorities praise victim for coming forward
“It took great courage for the victim to come forward and report what happened to her as a 17-year old student," District Attorney Deb Ryan said. "The defendant groomed her over several months before the relationship became sexual. This is an egregious violation of trust and an abuse of his position of authority as a teacher. My office will prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law.”
West Goshen Township Police Chief Michael P. Carroll said, “We commend the victim for her bravery in reporting this to police and encourage others to come forward if they have any other information in connection with this case. This is an on-going investigation.”