Tuesday, Delaware County Judge Mary Alice Brennan in the case of a teacher who was convicted of improperly touching students ruled that the ex-teacher was eligible for early release with the time he has served already in prison. The case involved Paul Hochschwender, who is a father of two, was who was arrested in March 2014 on charges resulting from accusations of sexual assault by three female students at the Darby Township School. Then five more victims then came forward, resulting in a second arrest in April 2014. He was arrested a third time in May 2014 after a ninth victim said he had put his hands into her pants on several occasions when she attended his first-grade class at the Radnor school in 2000.
Hochschwender then pleaded no contest in January to sexual assault and related criminal charges for inappropriately touching at least a dozen elementary school students and was remanded to the Delaware County jail. Then, In August, Hochschwender was sentenced to one to two years in county jail and 10 years of probation, ordered to forfeit his teaching credential, and register as a sex offender for life. He was released on Oct. 25 after receiving good-time credit. Deputy District Attorney Michael Galantino had filed a petition to stop the early release of Hochschwender as he is now a registered sex offender but Judge Brennan ruled that the state could not withhold Hochschwender as he was being released due to good behavior in his last year in the prison.
Defense attorney Art Donato fought the motion because he said it failed on its face because it sought to enforce a plea agreement that had not been violated. As there was no specific denial of good time in the sentencing sheet, Donato said his client should be allowed to remain free. Judge Mary Alice Brennan ruled that Galantino spent 17 months negotiating the plea and either knew or should have known of the prison policy on good-time credit. “The law is clear that each party is entitled to the benefits of the [plea] agreement,” Brennan said in her decision. Judge Brennan wrote that, Galantino has negotiated hundreds of such cases and is either aware of or should be aware of the prison’s policy on good time, which he could have addressed in the agreement and that “The inevitable conclusion this court must reach is the commonwealth intended for the defendant to be eligible for good time as part of the negotiation.” Continuing she said that “any other conclusion on this record would require this court to determine the deputy district attorney to be incompetent and he is anything but that.”