Ala. teacher faces charges of sex with students http://www.privateofficer.com
al.com — A Central Baldwin Middle School teacher and coach faces 12 charges related to accusations he had sexual contact or inappropriate communication with four students, authorities said Tuesday.
Bryan Christopher Pettibone was an eighth-grade science teacher and boys basketball coach for nearly 3 1/2years before being put on paid leave Dec. 19 when suspicious behavior was first reported by a parent of one of the girls, said Baldwin County public schools spokesman Terry Wilhite.
“All these situations would begin with text-messaging and phone calls and eventually led to actual contact,” said Sgt. Rex Bishop, chief investigator for the Robertsdale Police Department.
The suspect is accused of having sexual contact with three of the girls, authorities said.
All the girls were 14 at the time, Bishop said. One is still a middle school student while three have moved on to high school since those incidents allegedly occurred last school year, Bishop said.
Authorities declined to provide details about the alleged sexual contact except to say some of it occurred at the campus on Ala. 59, just north of Robertsdale.
“The allegations are that he crossed the boundary and there was actual physical contact, and this did occur on school grounds not only during the school times, but sometimes during extracurricular activities, mostly centered around basketball games,” Bishop said.
Pettibone, 34, of Mobile turned himself in to Robertsdale police Tuesday after being indicted by a Baldwin County grand jury, Bishop said.
Pettibone is charged with:
Three counts of second-degree sexual abuse.
One count of attempted second-degree sexual abuse.
Four counts of enticing a child under the age of 16.
Four counts of harassment.
He was transferred to the Baldwin County Corrections Center and released on bail Tuesday night.
Baldwin County District Attorney Judy Newcomb said the abuse charges are related to alleged sexual touching of students, and the attempted sexual abuse charge is for reportedly trying to have sexual contact with the fourth. The enticing charges are related to the text or cell phone conversations, authorities said.
Bishop said investigators hope there are no additional allegations involving Pettibone but urged parents or students to report them if there are.
Newcomb said the evidence shows the misconduct was “pervasive” in the school before it was reported.
“Kids are sometimes reluctant to talk about it. It is not their fault. If you are accosted inappropriately by a teacher, it is the teacher’s fault; it is not the child’s fault,” Newcomb said.
Because he is tenured, Pettibone has been on paid leave and his permanent employment status will be determined at an upcoming Board of Education meeting, Wilhite said.
Pettibone made $48,362 as a teacher and received a coaching supplement of $1,685.00 for a total salary of $50,047, Wilhite said.
Pettibone was hired in August 2004 as a teacher at Summerdale Elementary, where he worked for a year before transferring to CBMS in August 2005, Wilhite said.
All school system employees undergo criminal background checks and sexual harassment prevention training, he said.
“This is a very, very, very serious matter,” Wilhite said. “Our hearts go out to them. It’s a sad day and age we live In, and when we hear something like this, it upsets us greatly.”
The suspect is the son of former Foley High Principal Melvin Pettibone, Bishop said.
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