Former teacher charged with three criminal offenses by St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney

Sonya Sud, Assistant Editor in Chief

Former Lafayette orchestra teacher Joseph Gutowski was charged with several criminal offenses on Dec 20.

In an email sent to the LHS community, Principal Karen Calcaterra said, “We learned from the St. Louis County Police that they have charged a former LHS teacher with multiple charges related to child pornography and sexual misconduct.”

There is no indication the allegations are related to any current Rockwood students.

Calcaterra said Laura Holzen will be the orchestra teacher for the rest of the year and orchestra performances will go on as scheduled.

“I know that any allegation of this type is very troubling news to process, and we share your concern. All RSD employees must submit to and pass a criminal background check as a condition of employment. We hold educators and all district employees to the highest standards of conduct, and we are keenly aware of the trust that you and your parents place in us with regard to your safety and well-being.  I can assure you, we stand committed to providing a safe environment for all students, and we are cooperating fully with the appropriate investigative authorities,” she said.

Calcaterra wants students to know that counselors and social workers are available for anyone that needs help in processing this information.

“I am so sorry that our school and our community will be negatively impacted by this news. We have so many wonderful, caring and dedicated educators who are committed to helping each of you be successful. We are always here for you, and we will get through this together,” she said.