Army, FBI probe child molestation allegations on Fort Bragg
Posted March 14, 2012 12:36 p.m. EDT
Updated March 14, 2012 6:48 p.m. EDT
Fort Bragg, N.C. — A former substitute teacher at Fort Bragg schools is accused of inappropriately touching students, prompting the Army Criminal Investigation Command and the FBI to launch a criminal probe into the allegations.
Fort Bragg Garrison Commander Col. Stephen Sicinski said Wednesday that the teacher, whose name has not been released, taught at seven elementary schools on post between August 2010 and November 2011.
The teacher has not been called to substitute in the district since a Pope Elementary School parent reported in November that his child had been inappropriately touched. The teacher has since been banned from Fort Bragg, Sicinski said.
All substitute teachers in the district undergo background checks and a "very rigorous vetting process," said Emily Marsh, state superintendent of schools on military installations.
"Every step was taken so that something like this would not happen," she said.
It wasn't clear how many complaints of inappropriate touching were being investigated, but Sicinski alluded to at least two cases at two different schools.
"Pope Elementary and Holbrook Elementary are where this teacher had spent most of his time substitute teaching, and those are the schools where the investigation got triggered from," Sicinski said.
WRAL News obtained a letter that the commander sent to McNair Elementary School parents on Tuesday, in which he stated that the teacher worked at that school for seven days over the last two years. It wasn't clear whether any McNair Elementary students are believed to have been victimized.
Details of the allegations were not released, but Sicinski said there was no sign of "gross sexual misconduct."
Officials will host three town hall meetings for parents on Friday: one at Pope Elementary, one at Holbrook Elementary and one at 4 p.m. in the Main Post Theater.
The school system plans to conduct safe touch education for children later this spring and Sicinski encouraged parents to discuss the differences between "good touch" and "bad touch" with their children.
"We're going to be as transparent as possible with the parents," he said. "We want them to stand up if they believe anything untoward has happened to their particular child."
Any parent who suspects their child may have been a victim of inappropriate touching at school is asked to call the Fort Bragg Help Line at 910-907-6680.