Three Robertson County School Officials Arrested
SPRINGFIELD, Tenn. - Three Robertson County school employees have been arrested and charged with failing to report the sexual abuse of a child.
That follows an exclusive NewsChannel 5 investigation into several cases where, parents said, school officials kept quiet about first and second graders being sexually molested by other children.
The three school officials were booked Tuesday at the Robertson County Jail after being indicted by the Robertson County grand jury.
Karen Renae Fehrman, the principal at East Robertson Elementary, was indicted, as were assistant principal Kecia Young and Robertson County Schools Administrator Donna Dorris.
The indictment, released Wednesday, specifically refers to one case in September 2012 where the three "knew or had reasonable cause to suspect that a child had been sexually abused by another child while at school [and] did unlawfully and knowingly fail to report such knowledge or suspicion to the Tennessee Department of Children Services" or other authorities."
That charge is considered a Class A misdemeanor. The potential penalty is up to a year in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.
The investigation stems from several cases where parents told NewsChannel 5 Investigates that their first and second graders were sexually molested by other children.
But they said school officials never told them. Those officials even refused to cooperate with investigators, the families said.
Prosecutors had closed their file on those assaults.
But, after our investigation and after two families filed a lawsuit, the DA's office reversed course. Robertson County Sheriff Bill Holt also told NewsChannel 5 that another victim had also come forward.
The case was presented to the grand jury this week.
Robertson County school officials reacted by expressing outrage over the indictments.
"As a district, we are shocked that the Sheriff's Office and District Attorney's Office have pursued this matter to this point after examining the documented facts," a statement read.
"We have no doubt of the innocence of these educators and that they will be cleared of all charges."
Jail officials said all three women were released on $1,000 bond each. Their arraignment is set for May 3.