A former school instructor turned himself in Tuesday afternoon, after he was accused of child molest.
The Monroe County Sheriff's office began its investigation nearly two months ago. On Oct. 12, a 7-year-old girl said her instructor touched her inappropriately.
The student reported she was sitting on 19-year-old Ben Haile's lap. Haile was a tutor and small group instructor. The incident allegedly occurred while the students were watching a movie and the lights were off.
According to the girl, she and Haile were sitting behind a desk when he allegedly fondled her. The probable cause affidavit stated the girl told police Haile put his hands in her pants and ‘rubbed her girl part.’ The court document continued to state Haile allegedly put his hand under the girl’s shirt and also forced her to rub his genitals.
"We have no reason to believe that there are any other alleged incidents or that any other students were involved in any way, shape or form," Pinnacle School Executive Director Denise Lessow said.
Pinnacle School is a non-profit K-12 school for students with dyslexia, ADD and ADHD.
"Ben had been a student at Pinnacle. (He) graduated last year and finished his high school diploma,” said Lessow. “(He) was a stellar student. (He) did excellent work. (He) really worked well with other students and so was able to continue in a role as a tutor and small group instructor, this year, and had been very successful in that role.”
Lessow said Haile was qualified for his position. She said he would, at times, be in the classroom with students -alone.
"In his role, obviously throughout his training period and even this year, (Haile) worked under the supervision of a cooperating certified teacher," Lessow said.
Haile told detectives the little girl's leg was over his arm. He said he accidentally touched her private part but removed his hand immediately. He also told them he put his hand around her rib to take her off his lap, but that her shirt slid up, showing her skin. He said he accidentally touched her chest.
Haile was placed on paid leave immediately after the accusation was reported to authorities. About a week later, Lessow said, he was terminated.
"We're cooperating with authorities and letting them do their work and then we'll see how everything goes, you know, we're a close knit community and of course it's tough," Lessow said.
Lessow said she could not speak about the investigation until Tuesday.
"We were not allowed to notify parents, and that was actually one condition of the investigation that's been difficult is that we were not allowed to talk about this to the students with parents (nor) with anybody," Lessow said.
Haile faces two counts of child molest.