A former Toledo Public Schools substitute who was accused of inappropriately touching students will not face felony charges, the Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office said.
Anthony Peterman, 64, of Toledo, was suspended by TPS in February after a fifth-grade Arlington Elementary student alleged he inappropriately touched her. The girl told school staff Mr. Peterman touched her “private area.”
Jeff Lingo, chief of the criminal division for the prosecutor’s office, said that his office determined “that the information as reported did not meet the elements of a felony offense.” Mr. Peterman has not been charged in Toledo Municipal Court, either.
However, he was fired by the school district, effective March 27. According to TPS documents, the district weighed strongly on a Lucas County Children Services’ determination that there was evidence of sexual abuse.
“... the review which was completed by the Child Services Bureau has determined that improper sexual behavior was found...,” a hearing officer wrote in her decision to recommend Mr. Peterman be fired.
A notice of termination for Mr. Peterman also says that “the investigation completed by the Lucas County Children Services has indicated for sexual abuse.”
On Feb. 11, the Arlington student said that Mr. Peterman asked to see her belt and asked if it was a picture of SpongeBob SquarePants, according to a TPS report.
The girl said her teacher grabbed her belt buckle, and when she tried to pull away, he would not at first let go. When he did let go, the girl said, Mr. Peterman’s hand touched her “private area.”
Another girl apparently witnessed the incident, according to the TPS report. Oatis Amick, Jr., acting Arlington deputy principal, wrote that he called security and met with Mr. Peterman in the school’s office. Mr. Peterman admitted touching the girl’s belt, but said he had not touched the girl’s private area.
Mr. Peterman did not return a call Thursday requesting comment. He has in the past denied the allegations.
The February incident was not the first time this school year Mr. Peterman was reproached for his behavior with girls at TPS. On Oct. 31, a Woodward High School student complained that Mr. Peterman was “being really weird,” according to a TPS report.
The girl said Mr. Peterman dropped a pencil on her stomach while she was lying on a desk, and then picked it up, according to the report. A friend of the student said Mr. Peterman had tried to drop the pencil between the girl’s legs.
No action was taken at the district level after that incident because officials in the human resources department said they never saw the report. Cheryl Spieldenner, TPS chief human resources officer, said the report was not given to the appropriate staff, and instead was filed by a clerk.
Ms. Spieldenner said administrators held an informal meeting with the clerk to explain the proper filing procedure.
Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6086, or on Twitter @NolanRosenkrans.
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