By Jonathan McFadden
The Great Falls Elementary School teacher accused of sexually molesting a male teenager over a period of four years has been placed on administrative leave with pay, Chester County schools officials confirmed Monday.
When district leaders learned last week of the allegations against Richard Jayson Jones, 47, they placed Jones on leave, said Superintendent Agnes Slayman.
“The district will monitor this situation and take further action as appropriate,” Slayman said. “The district takes seriously the responsibility to ensure that we provide a safe and secure environment for all students at all times, and we will do so in this situation.”
Slayman’s comments Monday came after repeated attempts Friday for comment by The Herald. Slayman said officials took their regularly scheduled Friday off in compliance with summertime hours.
Authorities arrested Jones Thursday after a month-long investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division and Great Falls Police Department.
In June, a 16-year-old boy told police that Jones, an art teacher at Great Falls Elementary School, sexually assaulted him on several occasions since he was 12, said Great Falls Police Chief Steven Rice.
Jones has taught at Great Falls Elementary School for nine years. He was nominated in May for conideration as the county school district’s Teacher of the Year. He previously taught at Great Falls Middle-High School.
Slayman said Jones’ personnel file shows that he had no prior complaints or disciplinary actions taken against him.
A family member of the victim said the boy, at one time Jones’ student, decided to come forward with his allegations to prevent Jones from harming other children.
The Great Falls Police Department sought help from SLED to look into the allegations. After almost a month, SLED issued arrest warrants against Jones and arrested him in Anderson, charging him with criminal sexual conduct of a minor between ages 11 and 14 and committing a lewd act on a child under the age of 16.
SLED determined that none of the alleged assaults took place on school grounds.
The Sixth Circuit Solicitor’s Office will prosecute Jones, officials said. As of Monday, Assistant Solicitor Chris Taylor was unsure if Jones planned to schedule a preliminary hearing. Hearings for Chester County inmates arrested in July, barring scheduling conflicts, won’t be held until Oct. 2, Taylor said.
If convicted, Jones could face anywhere between 10 to 20 years in prison for the criminal sexual conduct with a minor charge and up to 15 years in prison for the lewd act with a child charge, Taylor said.
Rice, the police chief, said school officials had requested copies of the victim’s complaints and Jones’ arrest warrants on Friday.
Jones remains jailed at the Chester County Detention Center without bond.
Source : heraldonline