Former Broken Arrow Teacher Charged With Lewd Molestation

Tuesday, June 19th 2018, 4:11 pm
By: News On 6

A former Broken Arrow school teacher was arrested Tuesday, June 19, 2018, on four counts of lewd molestation.

The arrest affidavit lists nine potential victims, all girls between 10-12 years old.

The affidavit says school officials were contacted by a parent who was concerned about Edward Hodge's behavior toward her daughter and her daughter's friends.

Multiple girls said Hodge made them feel uncomfortable by touching them inappropriately.  The affidavit says the girls said Hodge would touch them on the legs, thighs, and butt.

One girl recalled a time Hodge was massaging a girl’s shoulders and it "looked weird."  The affidavit continues to say the girl then said Hodge asked her if she liked to cuddle.

The affidavit says the girls also said Hodge would have them hug him before letting them go to the bathroom.

The father of one of the girls says he was made aware that Hodge was no longer teaching his daughter’s class a week before school was out.

After talking to other parents, he says he started asking his daughter questions.

“What happened?  Did he touch you?  Did you see him touch anybody else?  And at that point, we found out that our child had been molested,” he said.

The father says he spent a lot of time around Hodge.  His daughter was on the robotics team, which Hodge sponsored.

“I let my defenses down.  There were some small comments throughout the year that we dismissed,” he said.  “But now, looking back, we know that was something that should have been further investigated…I feel guilty that I didn’t pursue that.”

According to the affidavit, one day, many of the girls asked to go to the counselor's office but were not allowed. Later that day, when Hodge asked the girls why they wanted to go to the counselor, they told him he was making them feel uncomfortable and the affidavit says Hodge told the girls he was sorry, that he loved them like his daughters, and that he would tell the principal, but the girls told him not to.

After one of the girls' parents reported the alleged behavior to the principal, the affidavit says Hodge was removed from the classroom and was asked to wait for the assistant superintendent.

The affidavit says Hodge sent the school principal a text saying, "I'm in the waiting area with a letter of resignation.  Let me know how you want to handle this.  I was about to tell you myself when they (students' parents) arrived."

During his interview with the assistant superintendent, the affidavit says Hodge said he knew he messed up, that he had a problem, that he had been molested growing up, and nightmares had started again.

The affidavit also says Hodge had previously been on a personal development plan after a teacher saw a female student sitting on his lap in January 2018.

Hodge was a fifth-grade teacher at Aspen Creek Elementary and had been with the district since 2002.  He resigned May 15th.

The district says it took action the second it knew of any inappropriate behavior.

“Obviously, we’re disgusted, just like anybody else is,” said Charlie Hannema from Broken Arrow Public Schools.  “Those are serious allegations we don’t tolerate.”

"We are happy to get someone like this off the street.  We want everyone to know their children are now safe," said James Koch with BAPD.

Broken Arrow Public Schools released a statement saying:

"Broken Arrow Public Schools is deeply troubled by the charges brought today against a former district employee.

"The employee was removed from the classroom as soon as allegations of inappropriate conduct were made, and the proper authorities were promptly notified.

"While everyone is innocent until proven guilty, the type of behavior alleged in this case is disgusting and we do not tolerate it.  We have been cooperating with the Broken Arrow Police Department and other authorities, and we thank them for conducting a thorough investigation."