Edward Wright

Bradford business owner Edward E. Wright was sent to McKean County Jail on $75,000 bail late Wednesday for allegedly having sexual contact with a female juvenile at Wright’s Music Shed on Main Street.

Wright, 68, of 88 Pear St., is charged with corruption of minors, a third-degree felony; corruption of minors, a first-degree misdemeanor; three counts each of indecent assault without consent and indecent assault with a victim less than 16, all second-degree misdemeanors.

He was arraigned before on-call District Judge Bill Todd and remanded to jail in lieu of $75,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear in Central Court Feb. 27.

According to court records, a juvenile female reported to Bradford City Police that during November and December 2018, Wright touched her inappropriately on several occasions while making remarks of a sexual nature, and comments “made to prevent resistance” and to prevent her from reporting the contact.

Wright allegedly told the child that she “might want to be in a relationship with him when (she) turns 18” and that he is “a sex addict,” the criminal complaint stated. He told the juvenile that “harm could come his way” if she reported it to anyone, the complaint alleged, and apologized to her for making her feel “uncomfortable.”

The criminal complaint noted that Wright has past convictions for similar conduct in which the victims were students at Bradford Area High School.

Beginning in 1979, Wright was employed as the Bradford Area High School Marching Owls band director. Court records at the time alleged that between February 1981 and February 1986, Wright sexually assaulted several female band members.

In November 1986, Wright was sentenced to a period of probation after pleading guilty to three counts of corruption of minors, four counts of indecent assault and three counts of indecent exposure, all of which involved four former band students.

According to a subsequent civil suit filed by a victim, one female victim reported to Bradford High administration that Wright had sexually assaulted her at his residence. However, she was not believed, and “after being threatened with public disclosure and personal humiliation, (the victim) retracted, in a rather flippant fashion, that the assault had occurred,” read an opinion in the case written by Judge Glenn Mencer.

The victim was given a choice: recant her story in front of the entire band, or withdraw from band activities, Mencer wrote. After the forced apology, Wright assaulted other students, and reminded them that the first victim hadn’t been believed when she came forward. “His tactical threat proved to be quite effective at least for a period of time,” Mencer wrote.

The lawsuit also charged that the school district “had a practice or custom or failing to appropriately respond to complaints by female students of sexual abuse or harassment perpetrated by male teacher,” the court records stated.

In 1980, Wright’s sexual abuse of another female began, and continued “on an almost weekly basis” until the student graduated in 1983, and in isolated incidents until 1985. In 1986, the son of the high school principal Frederick Smith told his father that Wright was sexually assaulting female band members. At this time the district responded. Wright was suspended as of March 10, 1986, and later resigned.

Wright owns and operates Wright’s Music Shed with locations in Bradford and in Warren, and was offering music lessons at the stores.

The store was opened in 1986 as “a school specialty store … servicing most of the area schools.”