Tempe school employee accused of sexual misconduct with students

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by Mike Gertzman

Video report by Natalie Brand

Posted on January 19, 2013 at 9:01 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 22 at 3:30 PM

Map: Gililland Middle School

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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Police in Tempe have arrested a middle school employee who is accused of sexual misconduct with students.

Police took George Person, 28, into custody Friday evening. Person is an employee of the Tempe Elementary School District

According to investigators, Person works as an Instructional Aide at Gililland Middle School in Tempe and has been working at Gililland for the past six years.

Person is facing the following charges: 3 counts of Sexual Misconduct with a Minor, 1 count of Child Molestation, 1 count of Sex Abuse, and 4 counts of Furnishing Harmful Items to Minors.
 
Tempe Police received information from a concerned father that Person was having inappropriate conversations with his daughter over the Internet. Upon receiving this information police immediately began to investigate the allegation.

"There's a few victims in this," said Sgt. Mike Pooley with the Tempe Police Department. "It goes back several years, and right now we are still currently investigating it."

Pooley said the victims were students at Gililland and said investigators would not be surprised if they find more victims.

Investigators say Person has a history of working with children through a variety of organizations.

"I'm shocked," Gabrielle Mantley who worked with Person at Desert Hawks Basketball Organization and the Boys and Girls Club, where he used to work. 

"I never would have thought him of all people," said Mantley.  "He was well liked by all the kids."

Mantley says she never noticed any concerning behavior in the past.

Person has been removed from his position at Gililland Middle School while the investigation continues. 

"I'm heartbroken," said Chris Busch, superintendent of the Tempe Elementary School District. "Student safety is at the center of all we work for and hope to achieve, always. I'm very proud of my staff because we followed all the protocol that's required."

Busch added that Person has not been in contact with students since the allegations were brought to their attention.

"What's important is that as a parent, as a guardian, even as an adult we are aware of what our children are doing and who they're talking to," said Sgt. Pooley, who added, "Whether it be in person, whether it be on a cell phone or whether it be on Facebook or any other social media website because that's our main priority is making sure that things like this don't happen again."

Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Tempe Police Department at 480-350-8311.


 

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