Altus school custodian charged with lewd, indecent acts with child

Altus_An Altus school custodian is in jail charged with lewd and indecent acts with a child. Last week, Intermediate School Custodian William "George" Woodhouse was on administrative leave after being under investigation. Woodhouse was investigated by police into what they called "inappropriate sexual conduct with a student." Now, the investigation is complete, and the man is in jail.

One resident near the school says she is relieved Woodhouse is behind bars, but she wants to be sure something like this doesn't happen again. 7News wanted to know just how Woodhouse was able to be hired to work in the school district.

The District Attorney says Woodhouse didn't have any prior arrests as far as he was aware of, and since it's a personnel matter, 7News was unable to get any more information from the school. Ella Allbaugh lives just across the street from Altus Intermediate School, and now that Woodhouse is in jail, she feels less anxious about her twin 10-year-old boys' safety. "I just hope that he doesn't get a slap on the hand," she said. "I hope that they make an example of him - show him that we actually care about our children. We want them to get an education without fear of being in danger of anything like that."

Last week, a female student accused Woodhouse of inappropriate sexual conduct in the school's hallway. The school serves fifth and sixth grade students. Police immediately began an investigation and confirmed the incident happened on school grounds, during school hours. Police reports say Woodhouse stopped in the hallway and put his hand in the victim's shirt. The victim says it wasn't the first time Woodhouse had exhibited inappropriate behavior. She says he had previously made lewd comments to her, so after the last incident, she reported it to a teacher.

Allbaugh says the district needs to do a better job of screening their employees. "These people are putting our children's lives in the hands of just anybody, you know...what's going to be next?" The Altus School District says the janitor was hired in February 2007, and passed a background check. His bond is set for $35,000, and Woodhouse must stay off school property. As of Tuesday evening, he had not posted bond.

The penalty, should he be found guilty, is three to 25 years of prison time, and lifetime registry as a sex offender. Count on 7News to keep you updated.