Altus_An Altus Public Schools janitor is on administrative leave. That's after being accused of what police are describing as inappropriate sexual conduct with a student. Investigators say the female student alerted an adult about the situation after she said it happened at Altus Intermediate School that serves fifth and sixth grade students. So far, police have not arrested the janitor, and say they are still working on the case before turning over to the District Attorney for his review.
Police don't want to reveal too much information at this time since they are still in the process of interviewing people connected to the case. They say it is also for the protection of the young girl who claims she is a victim.
While details of the accusations are unclear, police have confirmed that the girl says what happened between her and the janitor occurred during school hours last week. "A girl went to an adult in the school and said something had happened and she wanted to talk about it," says Altus Police Chief Mike Patterson. "The preliminary information is just happened when she went to the teacher."
Patterson says the school district immediately contacted officers who opened an investigation. "It clearly is inappropriate if this in fact happened, this allegation happened. It shouldn't have happened," he says. The Chief confirms that police have interviewed the janitor on several occasions since the allegations arose, but they have not arrested him despite the girl's claims. "There's no rush to judgment," says Patterson. "There's a deliberate pace to do a thorough investigation. I think the law is really clear about what is appropriate and what is not appropriate. In this case I don't think that will be a vague area if we validate what this girl has said."
The Altus School District doesn't comment on personnel matters, but a spokesperson says the janitor was hired in February, 2007, and he passed a background test. "I think what helps the parents is this came to the school's attention," says Patterson. "They acted immediately, like [within] minutes and contacted us, and we started our investigation immediately."
To restate - The janitor who stands accused has not been arrested or charged. However, police are confirming that a young girl says he had "inappropriate sexual conduct" with her. Chief Patterson says he hopes to have the investigation complete by next week.