TPS Administrator Charged With Sexual Abuse


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Updated: 5/06/2010 9:27 am Published: 5/05/2010 4:55 pm


UPDATE --An assistant principal at a Tulsa Public School is in jail tonight charged with one count of lewd molestation involving a child and two counts of child sex abuse.

FOX23 News was the first to learn that Yerton was being investigated after allegations of molestation surfaced and the only media outlet to speak with one of the alleged victim’s family.

Robert Yerton Jr. is accused of inappropriately touching a six-year-old boy at Skelly Elementary. The Northern Oklahoma Violent Crimes Task Force and Tulsa Police officers arrested Yerton at his home Wednesday evening.

Records show in October 2009, the Skelly principal was made aware of one incident involving suspected molestation to the six-year-old by Mr. Yerton.

FO23’s Abbie Alford spoke to an alleged victim's parents tonight about Yerton’s arrest.

Robert Yerton has spent 17-years with Tulsa Public Schools and is now in the Tulsa County Jail.

On his Facebook account Yerton posted he has been involved in Boy Scouts, various Christian camps for children and vacation bible school.

Records show Yerton is accused of touching a six-year-old boy’s private parts in his school office. A child with a learning disability.

"We feel outraged we really do but we are doing this the right way and we want justice and that is what we are getting now," says the alleged victim’s father.

To protect the alleged victim FOX23 News will not release the parents identity.

In an exclusive interview, the father told FOX23 News he believes it wasn’t until a month after his son was suspected of being inappropriately touched did he learn of the alleged abuse.

The father says another employee at Skelly reported the touching to them.

However, records show in October 2009 that employee wrote the Skelly principal about her concerns and said she believed Mr. Yerton inappropriately touched the six-year-old boy in his office.

The alleged victim’s parents say it wasn’t until April when an employee told them about the alleged abuse and they confronted the area school superintendent.

The parents say that administrator already knew about the allegations.

"We still don't even know how long it was going on because he has been in trouble all year and he was sent to this man all year," says the alleged victim’s mother.

"They are supposed to be safe and protected at the public schools. When something like that is reported you are not supposed to sweep it under the rug. You are supposed to do something about it," says the alleged victim’s father.

Since the family came forward police say a teen told them Yerton touched him on multiple occasions at Yerton’s home when he was underage.

Now two families wait for more answers.

"It's been real tough, been real tough but this is just the beginning but we have to tough it out," says the alleged victim’s father. 

Tulsa police say a timeline of events regarding the alleged abuse, Yerton’s work history and involvement in social organizations will be released.

The District Attorney is encouraging anyone with information about Mr. Yerton to report it to the Tulsa Police Child Crisis Unit at (918) 669-6504 or call Crime Stoppers at (918) 596-COPS.

Yerton is being held in the Tulsa County Jail on $150,000 bond. 

TPS released the following statement:

For immediate release, May 5, 2010: Tulsa Public Schools is deeply disturbed by the charges filed against one of the district's elementary school administrators. The district will do whatever is required to assist the Tulsa County District Attorney in resolving the case.

Robert Yerton has been with the district since 1993 and no one has ever reported him engaging in criminal activity of any sort. He was suspended on April 27 after TPS received a warrant to search his office and computer for evidence of lewd acts with a child. This was the first time administrators had ever heard anything that would indicate Yerton was accused of criminal abuse of a child.

Tulsa Public Schools is committed to delivering quality learning experiences to each and every student in a safe, secure and healthy environment. The district maintains an unwavering expectation that every employee conduct himself or herself in a manner that honors education and children. Tulsa Public Schools has and will continue to assist law enforcement in this and every case that impacts our students. We appreciate Tulsa Police detectives' diligence and thoroughness in investigating these criminal allegations. The additional information provided through the TPD investigation will be vital in the district's ongoing personnel investigation.

Skelly and TPS administrators are expected to follow the law and board policy in handling complaints against staff members. Such has been the case in handling any concerns expressed about Robert Yerton.  

Police records show on April 23rd a TPS area superintendent sent a packet of e-mails detailing allegations to a Tulsa Police investigator, however the school district says they were not aware of the allegations until last week.

" I still can't believe that the superintendent told us that this man was too affectionate with kids and then gave him a verbal warning now he is locked up and he's been charged with child molestation so what's affectionate about that?" says the alleged vicitm’s father.

Records also show police interviewed a potential victim who was in Yerton’s fourth-grade class at Disney Elementary in 1996.

He had similar complaints but the statute of limitation has run out so that person will not be considered a victim.

UPDATE

-- Robert Roland Yerton Jr. is now in police custody.  Yerton is charged with two counts of Sexual Abuse involving a child and 1 count of Lewd Molestation.

TULSA, OK -- Robert Roland Yerton Jr., an administrator at Skelly Elementary School, has been formally charged with 2 counts of Child Sexual Abuse, and 1 count of Lewd Molestation.  Tulsa Police have also issued a warrant for his arrest.

FOX23 News was the first to learn that Yerton was being investigated after allegations of molestation surfaced.

TPS officials told us that Yerton had been suspended with pay and search warrants served to see if there is evidence on a computer.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

luckylady23 - 5/6/2010 4:03 PM
0 Votes
He was a very wierd teacher when he was at Disney Elementary when me and my sisters and brother went there years ago!!!!!! My brother ended up punching him in the face cuz he grabbed him!!!!!! GIVE HIM THE CHAIR!!!!!!!

Gregg777 - 5/6/2010 9:46 AM
0 Votes
Sorry but I think I was wrong with my statement earlier. Below is the Oklahoma Statute Okla. Stat. Ann. Tit. 12, § 95 Subdivision 6: An action based on intentional conduct brought by any person for recovery of damages for injury suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse incidents or exploitation as defined by Section 7102 of Title 10 of the Oklahoma Statutes or incest can only be brought within the latter of the following periods: a. within two (2) years of the act alleged to have caused the injury or condition, or b. within two (2) years of the time the victim discovered or reasonably should have discovered that the injury or condition was caused by the act or that the act caused the injury for which the claim is brought.

Gregg777 - 5/6/2010 9:39 AM
0 Votes
FYI there is no statute of limitations for such cases. Thats one good law we have

Jolie - 5/6/2010 12:25 AM
0 Votes
to Bob Long, I am so sorry for the loss of your son. Tonight must be a very difficult night for you. If there are others who have been molested and have not yet reported it to the authorities, I hope they will find the courage to come forward and report it now. If Robert Yerton Jr. has been molesting children since 1993 (and maybe even earlier) up to the present time, chances are there are many, many boys he has exploited. Even if the statute of limitations is up, come forward anyway, to show the true picture of what this individual's behavior has been, while he pretended to be living a life for Christ. The police and the DA need to have as much information as possible to work with. If Yerton Jr. is found guilty, his sentence will be partly based on the number of crimes committed. If guilty, he should serve time for each and every crime he has committed against children. Molesters leave a terrible legacy behind them. All those who knew or suspected that this was going on, if it was going on, and did nothing to help these children or prevent future abuse should hang their heads in shame. To all molesting child predators who are reading this article, if you cannot control your sexual perversions, please turn yourself in to the police and confess your crimes so that you will be locked up and prevented from harming any more children. If you cannot do that, then chop off your hands, to keep you for harming any more children. If you think you cannot live without your hands, then please use them to end your life, so that you will not harm any more children, but please leave a letter of explanation and a list of the children you victimed before you go. You have no right to destroy lives to satisfy your own desires. None! B*stards!

MamaTrav - 5/5/2010 10:32 PM
0 Votes
I want to know what TPS's policy is regarding background checks? Do they only check backgrounds when they hire people and just trust them once they're on staff? I ask because he wasn't at my children's school till after his son filed the protective order against him. Perhaps TPS needs to update their policy on background checks to every 5 years, or maybe when a person receives a promotion to a position with more authority. I just cannot believe all of this was happening under TPS nose and they didn't catch it. We're dealing with children here...TPS needs to put actions to their statements that their number one priority is the safety of our children.

Jolie - 5/5/2010 10:11 PM
0 Votes
Yerton’s work history 1993-2002: Third- and fourth-grade teacher, Disney Elementary School 2002-2004: Children’s minister, Garnett Church of Christ 2004-05: Substitute teacher, Tulsa Public Schools 2005-06: Gifted and talented class teacher, Disney and Cooper elementary schools 2006-08: Gifted and talented class teacher, Disney Elementary School 2008-09: Principal Intern, Lindbergh Elementary School 2009-10: Assistant Principal, Skelly Elementary School Source: Tulsa Public Schools

Jolie - 5/5/2010 9:39 PM
0 Votes
For parents: These are some of the volunteer organizations that Robert Yerton Jr. has been involved with: Boy Scouts, Troop 26 (up to present time) Garnett Church of Christ (previously, no longer attends there), head of youth ministry, Kid's Camp, children's ministry equipper Park Place Church of Christ (his current church) Let's Start Talking Young Friends missionary church group Missionary trips, both nationally and to other countries, including: Was planning to go to Honduras this summer with the Let's Start Talking (LST) Young Friends group Blogged about trip to Niteroi, Brazil, in June 2010 He was with a church group from Park Plaza in New Orleans in March 2010, during spring break, on ministry to the Carrolton and Holly Grove congregations. LST Missionary Trip to China in July 2009 with family and their live-in teenage male exchange student (named Lennart) LST Missionary Trip to China in summer 2008 LST Missionary Trip to China in summer 2007 Garnett Church of Christ Mission Team: Nicaragua 2003

Jolie - 5/5/2010 9:38 PM
0 Votes
One out of four girls is estimated to be raped or molested before she turns 18. The number is not much better for boys: one out of six before 18. (CDC statistics, also widely disseminated by other organizations) The chances of a child being molested or raped are much higher than finding themselves in a building on fire or in the path of a tornado, getting struck by lightning in a thunderstorm, or catching a serious communicable disease. Yet as parents, we spend more time teaching fire safety and not to play with matches, what to do during a tornado warning, not to play outside when there's a thunderstorm, and vaccinating them, then we do educating them about appropriate and inappropriate touch. They need to know that they can tell someone in an authority position 'no' when it comes to their bodies and personal space, even if it's grandma or grandpa or uncle that wants a hug and they don't want to give it. Because sometimes it is grandma or grandpa or uncle who is the chid molester. The majority of child molestations are perpetrated by family members, followed by friends of family and acquaintances--people the child knows and possibly trusts. Parents shouldn't wait until there is a report of a possible molestation in the papers to talk to their kids. Even if their child never met the individual in this news story, parents should have that talk with their kid right now and be open to listening to what they have to say. It's possible that someone has already been acting inappropriately with them and they were too afraid or ashamed to tell you. Only one out of three children who are molested tell anyone while they are still a child. Protect your kids with the information they need to protect themselves and report incidents to a trusted adult, so that predators can be investigated, charged, and punished, and thereby protecting the larger community, as well.

AmericanBob - 5/5/2010 8:27 PM
0 Votes
When this guy was teaching at Disney elementary, my youngest son was in his class, this guy is a jerk and a half, and the biggest left winger you could ever have! After a semester, we took our son out of his class. My son slit his knee open, had to have not only multiple stitches, INSIDE and out,he also had to wear a leg brace, and was in a wheel chair for 6 weeks waiting for his leg to heal, my son missed an outing that this jerk had, not much of an outing if you ask me, but because my son missed it, due to a REAL injury, he gave the kid an F, for the 9 weeks, he did have a B avg before missing the field trip. This guy gave both me and my wife funny feelings, and I have no doubt that he is a pervert and needs to meet up with Bubba in Prison. Sincerely, Bob Long, ps, my son, David Long, took his life a few years later. Now I am wandering if he molested my son.

Gregg777 - 5/5/2010 6:52 PM
0 Votes
To the person below me... If he has never been caught doing anything then he would have a clean background. So thats not the issue, however keeping a very close eye on children and teaching them how to report such acts would be the way to approach it. I hope he gets raped in jail after they beat his A**!!!!!
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