(Jamaica Observer) A teacher who was convicted and sentenced for indecent (sexual) assault against an eighth grader at a high school in Kingston is still working there, as no disciplinary action was ever taken against him by the school board.
And, although the matter was reported to the Ministry of Education last September, that division of Government has also failed to act in a timely manner, even after being informed that the teacher had been found guilty of a sex crime against a minor in a court of law.
According to court records, Roger Hobbins was found guilty of indecent assault on the minor and was sentenced on January 19, 2012 to two years’ imprisonment suspended for three years in the Half-Way-Tree Resident Magistrate’s Court. The English teacher was also sentenced to do 360 hours of community service, specifically at a penal institution.
A Jamaica Observer investigation revealed that Hobbins was arrested on the school compound by the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA) in 2010, after the guidance counsellor reported to the police that he had fondled a female student on the school premises.
The traumatised child complained to her grandmother who made a formal report to the police and Hobbins was arrested.
The child has since been transferred to another school and the teacher later convicted.
A source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said school regulations dictated that the matter should have been officially reported to the board for the teacher to have been either suspended or fired. However, the matter was never reported to his employers until recently.
According to the source, the delay in dealing with the matter has now resulted in Hobbins being in the coveted position of being virtually untouchable.
“The then principal was to have taken the matter to the board immediately after he was arrested for the personnel committee to apply sanctions as was set out in the Education Code,” the source said.
However, the matter never went to the board within the stipulated timeline and as such, Hobbins was never suspended.
“None of those steps were followed, which is why he is still there,” the source said. The source explained further that the personnel committee had the power to suspend or fire Hobbins even before he was found legally guilty, once they are satisfied the weight of the allegation justifies the punishment.
“But although the administration botched this, there can’t be any law to protect this man when he has been found guilty, because the greater concern must be for the children,” the source insisted.