Ohio State officials detail efforts to support families, discuss role in investigation
COLUMBUS – Officials at The Ohio State University today responded to the arrest of Nathan Fassnacht, who is charged with sexual assault. Fassnacht worked in the university’s Child Care Program a decade ago.
Law enforcement determined that the alleged conduct occurred at the Ohio State University Child Care Program at the Ackerman location sometime during the term of Fassnacht’s employment and involved one child victim. Fassnacht worked at the university’s Child Care Program at the Ackerman location from January 2002 until August 2005. The precise date of the offense is being investigated by the Franklin County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. He was also a student employee at the North Central State College Child Development Center on Ohio State’s Mansfield campus from November 2000 to November 2001.
“Based on information the university has received from law enforcement partners, there is no indication that any criminal activity affecting members of the Ohio State community is ongoing,” said Paul S. Denton, The Ohio State University Chief of Police. “Ohio State will continue to assist in the investigation. The safety and security of every member of our community is always our top priority.”
“It is outrageous that someone who was responsible for the care of children in our community may have caused harm and violated our trust,” said Ohio State President Michael V. Drake. “This is heartbreaking. We will use every resource at our disposal to support our community and to ensure that justice is served.”
The university was first made aware of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force investigation into this matter on Feb. 5, 2015. Law enforcement informed Ohio State leaders that Fassnacht had been arrested and charged with possession and pandering sexual material involving minors in February 2014. In an investigation of these materials, law enforcement officers identified a possible connection to Fassnacht’s employment with Ohio State’s Child Care Program at the Ackerman location.
“The university was directed by the Task Force not to release any information until the arrest was made public to protect the integrity of the law enforcement investigation, and we have assisted the task force in every way possible since that time,” Chief Denton said.
Andraea Douglass, Ohio State Senior Vice President for Talent, Culture and Human Resources, who oversees the university Child Care Program, said Ohio State is making every effort to contact families of children who were enrolled in the program between 2002 and 2005.
“Our first priority is to support our community,” Douglass said. “We are holding meetings for these families to offer support, answer questions and share information. Out of respect for the privacy of these families, these meetings are not open to the media.”
The university has engaged Praesidium, a nationally recognized leader in preventing and responding to incidents of child sexual abuse, to provide support resources.
People in need of support or resources are encouraged to call Praesidium at 866-607-7233.
Anyone with additional information for law enforcement should contact the Franklin County Sheriff at: 614-525-3448 or The Ohio State University Police Division, Detective Susan Liu, 614-292-2121.