School custodian accused of sexually abusing family member

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MESA and CHANDLER -- An overnight custodian at Mesa's Wilson Elementary School has been arrested, accused of sexually abusing a young family member several years ago.

According to Chandler police, Timothy Harrell, 57, was arrested Thursday and is now facing 13 felony counts.

The school sent a letter to parents explaining the situation. That letter made it clear that the victim, who is now 23 years old and  just recently came forward, was not associated with the school. Police do not believe there are any other victims.

Investigators said the the abuse happened eight to 10 years ago and went on for about two years, taking place where Harrell lived, including Chandler, Mesa and Scottsdale. Harrell is currently a Mesa resident and has not lived in Chandler for some time, said Sgt. Joe Favazzo of the Chandler Police Department. The alleged victim was between 12 and 15 at the time.

Harrell is facing 10 counts of sexual conduct with a minor, two counts of sexual abuse and one count of furnishing harmful items to a minor.

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office is expected to file charges Tuesday.

Harrell was not employed by Mesa Schools at the time of the alleged abuse. He has worked for the district for the last seven years, and has been placed on administrative leave. School officials said he will not be returning to campus.