White City, Ore.- A 72-year-old volunteer accused of molesting a student at Table Rock Elementary School was arrested Monday. Now, school leaders and local law enforcement are working to answer parent’s questions about inappropriate touching.
On Wednesday, Table Rock Elementary invited parents to the campus in order to answer any questions they may have. The meeting included one detective from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and about a dozen concerned parents.
One parent who did not attend but is still concerned is Anel Ramirez-Flores. She has two kids at Table Rock Elementary, one in first grade and one in pre-k. Ramirez-Flores says she was shocked when she heard what happened.
“It concerns me because my kids go to this school and I don’t feel they’re safe here,” she says.
Jackson County Sheriff’s Office investigators say 72-year-old Jerry Lodge had sexual contact with the Table Rock Elementary School student while he was volunteering with a Foster Grandparent Program. During Jackson County Sheriff’s meeting with parents on Wednesday, Detective Jason Penn says he and the students’ parents discussed a variety of things.
“Inappropriate touching, how not to jump to a conclusion and just being open with your kids and how we talk to ’em. And we talked about resources that are open to families and kids who may be victims of abuse,” he explains.
Detective Penn says that when it comes to screening volunteers, Table Rock Elementary is doing everything right. And as a parent whose children come in contact with the schools’ volunteers, Ramirez-Flores agrees. She says she feels it’s a great program worth keeping. Ramirez-Flores went on to say that even in a difficult situation like this there’s one thing she hopes people bear in mind safety.
“It’s not just about my kids. It’s about them being safe and being free and being kids.”