Alleged Student Sex ‘lookout’ Gets House Arrest For DUI
WILKES-BARRE — The former Wilkes-Barre Area School District teacher who was accused of covering up a fellow teacher’s student sex scandal was sentenced Wednesday to house arrest after pleading guilty in his fifth drunken driving case.
Brian D. Hampel, 48, of 25 Harris Pond Road, Sweet Valley, was arrested after police saw him run a stop sign in Harveys Lake early the morning of Feb. 4. Prosecutors say he blew a 0.246 percent on a field breath test — more than three times the legal limit for driving.
Court records show Hampel pleaded guilty in July to a misdemeanor count of driving under the influence in exchange for prosecutors dropping additional charges against him.
During the sentencing hearing, Senior Deputy Attorney General Bernard Anderson noted that a court-ordered evaluation determined Hampel has a “pathological drinking problem.”
Luzerne County Judge Hugh F. Mundy sentenced Hampel to six months in the Intermediate Punishment Program, which allows offenders to remain out of prison but under strict guidelines and conditions. Hampel will be required to serve the first 30 days on house arrest with electronic monitoring, pay a $1,000 fine and perform 15 hours of community service.
He will also lose his driver’s license for a year and be required to abstain from drugs and alcohol.
Hampel declined to comment as he left court.
The case represented Hampel’s fifth DUI case in Luzerne County, but for sentencing purposes it counted as his first because the other cases took place more than 10 years ago.
Court records indicate that in Hampel’s first case, stemming from an arrest in February 2002, he entered the accelerated rehabilitative disposition program. The other three cases, all stemming from arrests in 2004, ended with Hampel pleading guilty to driving under the influence charges, according to court records.
Hampel gained notoriety in January 2015 during the student-sex trial of former administrator Stephen Stahl, a fellow teacher who was convicted of having a sexual relationship with a minor at the school in 2004.
Prosecutors at Stahl’s trial claimed Hampel served as a “lookout” while Stahl had sex with the 16-year-old girl in a classroom during school hours. Hampel denied the accusations when he testified.
The Wilkes-Barre Area School Board fired Hampel in September 2016, a month before he was charged with corruption of minors for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a teenage student and providing kegs of beer for underage drinking parties.
But a county judge dismissed the case in May 2017 after defense attorney Al Flora Jr. argued the alleged victim — an unidentified girl — had never reported inappropriate contact and that the statute of limitations had already expired in any case.
Hampel in turn filed a federal malicious prosecution lawsuit alleging Luzerne County detectives arrested him without probable cause in an effort to “destroy his career and reputation.”
That lawsuit is still pending.