By Chris Wright, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- A Tulsa Public Schools assistant principal accused of molesting several children has been arrested.
Robert Yerton, 41, was charged Wednesday with two counts of sexual abuse, and one count of lewd molestation.
The charges are linked to two young victims.
Yerton is accused of sexually abusing a 6-year-old at Skelly Elementary last fall. According to the affidavit, a school counselor saw Yerton place his hands inside the child's pants and touch his genitals.
The other accusations were made by a now 18-year-old, who says Yerton molested him over a period of several years.
Authorities also talked to a third person, a former student of Yerton's. He told investigators that Yerton molested him when he was a fourth-grader at Disney Elementary School in 1996.
But the statute of limitations has expired for those accusations, and Wednesday's charges are only related to the first two victims.
Anyone who has had inappropriate contact with Yerton over his 17-year education career is asked to contact the Tulsa Police Department.
According to a biography on Tulsa Public School's web site, Yerton taught for 17 years before becoming an administrator at Skelly. The site says he is listed in 'Who's Who in America's Teachers' and is on the 'National Honor Roll's Outstanding Teachers.' He has also performed mission work as a children's minister and an assistant scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts.
Court records indicate that some of his co-workers had expressed concern about Yerton's behaviors. In a series of e-mails, they described what they felt was "inappropriate touching, rubbing and hugging of several male students."
Yerton was placed on paid suspension last Tuesday after police seized his school computer. His first court appearance is scheduled for May 12th, according to the Tulsa County Jail web site.
His lawyer says his client is innocent of all of the charges.
Tulsa Public Schools officials say they will do whatever is required to assist the District Attorney's office in resolving the case.
Tulsa Public Schools Statement on Yerton's ArrestL:
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