Disturbing New Details Emerge About Springside Chestnut Hill Teacher Charged with Child Porn
The feds have released new allegations against Andrew Wolf in court.
Update 1/13/2022: The feds now allege that some of the Andrew Wolf victims included his own middle school students at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. Click here to read the full story.
On Friday, we told you the disturbing news that Springside Chestnut Hill math teacher Andrew Wolf had been arrested by the FBI and charged with three counts of child pornography. And on Tuesday afternoon, we learned new details about the case.
Wolf and his attorney appeared before a federal judge on Tuesday for a scheduled hearing over probable cause and whether the court should detain Wolf until trial or grant him bail. Philly Mag also attended the proceedings.
Wolf’s attorney wound up stipulating that probable cause existed for arrest and that Wolf would be detained until trial. He informed the court that he intends to have a psychologist examine Wolf in the near future at the Federal Detention Center, where Wolf is in custody.
Just before Tuesday’s hearing, the federal prosecutor handling Wolf’s case filed a motion for pre-trial detention that contained allegations above and beyond those spelled out in the criminal complaint filed last week.
In addition to reiterating that Wolf allegedly had numerous images of child pornography on a Dropbox account attached to his work email address at the prestigious private school and that he purchased pornographic videos from a 13-year-old boy on Instagram, prosecutors now say that Wolf at times impersonated a young teenage girl online in order to get boys to send him explicit photos and videos of themselves. They claim he posed as a teenage girl on TikTok, Snapchat, and Mail.com.
Of the pornographic images prosecutors say they found in Wolf’s possession, most of them depict boys “in the exact range of his students” at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, according to court documents. Prosecutors also now allege that Wolf had non-pornographic photos of students that he had chaperoned on overnight school trips and off-campus events. They say they “appear to have been been surreptitiously taken” by Wolf, “suggesting that he had an interest in photographing students without their knowledge and maintaining the photos for himself.”
After the feds conducted a search warrant on Wolf’s Roxborough home last week, seizing at least eight electronic devices, investigators say they found the messaging app Telegram on his cell phone that he allegedly used to “communicate with other like-minded child predators.” The prosecutor alleges in the pre-trial motion that Wolf started using Telegram for this purpose in 2018 and that he continued to do so until literally the day before his arrest, when he’s accused of using Telegram to receive and save a sexually explicit video of a boy between 12 and 14 years old.
Investigators now also allege that Wolf used Telegram to communicate in “sexually explicit communications” about his own students at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy with a Telegram user known only as “Mr. Pickles,” who claimed to be a teacher who is a pedophile.
There is no indication in any court documents that Wolf engaged in inappropriate contact with his students.
Wolf’s attorney did not return calls seeking comment.
After this article was published, a spokesperson for the school contacted Philly Mag by email, indicating that “the school continues to be disturbed by the entire situation and continues to provide support for former students and colleagues of Andrew Wolf.”
The spokesperson included the following statement from Springside Chestnut Hill Academy head of school Steve Druggan, which was sent to parents:
We are all unsettled and upset by this news and acted immediately to inform our community of the situation as well as put Mr. Wolf on administrative leave. We then terminated his employment last Friday. We are working closely with the FBI on their investigation, which was prompted by activity that occurred outside of SCH, over the summer and while Mr. Wolf was on parental leave. SCH has absolutely no tolerance for such activity and is unyielding in its commitment to the safety of our students.
Prior to terminating Wolf last week, Druggan sent the following message to parents:
I am writing to inform you that earlier today the FBI arrested SCH teacher Andrew Wolf on charges related to child pornography. He is currently in custody, and we understand that he will be arraigned tomorrow. The authorities told us that their investigation was prompted by activity that occurred outside of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy.
SCH follows strict protocols regarding our hiring and retention of all employees, including criminal background checks. We can confirm that Mr. Wolf’s background clearances are up-to-date and contained no information regarding prior criminal history. Moreover, we have never received any complaints or indications of improper conduct by Mr. Wolf. Mr. Wolf has been placed on administrative leave, and we certainly anticipate that he will not return to SCH.
If you or your child have any questions about your child’s contact with Mr. Wolf, please reach out to me or to your child’s divisional counselor or division head or contact the FBI directly.
I am sorry I have to communicate such difficult news. SCH’s commitment to the safety and security of our students is unyielding, and we are all understandably unsettled and upset by this news. We will continue to monitor the situation and work closely with authorities as they continue their investigation. We will provide more information as we receive it.
I have scheduled opportunities to meet with both Middle and Upper School students tomorrow morning and will remain available to any member of our community who wishes to speak with me.