Investigation on Heber child molestation case still ongoing

Investigation on Heber child molestation case still ongoing

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HEBER - The investigation into the a Heber Elementary School janitor accused of molesting a child in one of  the school's restroom last month, continues to drag on tonight.

As KSWT News 13 first reported, parents protested after school officials refused to place the janitor on administrative leave.

Police then turned the case over to the District Attorney's office to determine if charges would be filed against the janitor.

That was two weeks ago.

I went to District Attorney, Deborah Owen's office but she was not available to speak to me. Still, we also wanted to know how difficult it is to investigate cases involving accusations of sexual child abuse.

So, I sat down with former Deputy District Attorney, Ryan Childers. He tells me it is common for cases of this severity to take this long before any decision is made on whether to file charges, or to drop the case altogether.

"When you're talking about a young child, who's the victim, there are obviously some difficulties in eliciting information from a young child."

Childers says that The District Attorney's Office will not issue a warrant for an arrest or move forward with filing criminal charges until they are 100 percent confident the evidence is factual.

"The ethical standard that they have to meet when they're looking at the information & the evidence that they have is whether they can prove the charges they're going to bring, beyond a reasonable doubt".

Reasonable doubt, in this case, involving serious a claim that a school janitor physically molested a child - requires evidence beyond "he said, she said."

"There are special types of interviews that have to be done, if there are medical examinations that are done, you have to wait for that information to come back", says Childers.

And waiting for results from all tests, according to Childers, could be the number one reason the District Attorney's Office is taking its time on making a decision on whether or not to file charges against the accused janitor.

"In cases where an arrest isn't made initially, it's not uncommon to see a case go several months before chargers are filed", he says. "And keep in mind the statute of limitations on most felony cases is 3 years and child molestation cases; it can be significantly more, depending on the circumstances".

As for the school janitor, he continues to work at two Heber Elementary Schools pending the outcome of the investigation.

Heber Elementary School District Superintendent Jaime Silva has assured KSWT News 13 that the janitor does not have any contact with children what so ever. We will continue to follow this story.

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