Former coach, teacher admits to sexual involvement with minors

Suspended teacher and former coach, Kelli Vassallo, admitted she abused her close mentorship with two underage girls to form sexual relationships in Lycoming County Court Wednesday.

Vassallo, 36, of 1346 Lafayette Parkway, pleaded guilty to charges of institutional sexual assault and corruption of a minor on the day that a jury would have been picked for her Sept. 11 trial.

A former Loyalsock Township Middle School girls’ basketball coach and suspended Williamsport Area School District teacher, Vassallo admitted to having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl she coached five years ago. The girl told police she and Vassallo had built a close relationship after she approached her coach to talk about a personal problem. Eventually, Vassallo explained to the young girl that she had feelings for her, eventually leading to a number of sexual acts.

Vassallo also was scheduled to have a second trial for a separate incident four years prior. A former Loyalsock Township High School student told police soon after the first allegation came to light that Vassallo had molested her numerous times when she was 17. Vassallo’s acceptance of the charges from the two cases were a part of a plea agreement, and according to District Attorney Kenneth Osokow, the victims and their families approved of it.

According to Greg L. Hayes, director of public relations for the school district, Vassallo was suspended from the school soon after she was charged.

“Ms. Vassallo was suspended from her position with WASD not long after these allegations came to light,” Hayes said. “At this time, this is an ongoing legal issue and the district has no further comment.”

Vassallo is facing a sentence of 12 to 24 months along with an amount of probation to be chosen by the judge at sentencing, according to Osokow. Her sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 1.