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Ex-Gainesville Elementary teacher accused of fondling four students

Jones resigned Dec. 11, remains jailed without bond

POSTED: December 29, 2007 5:02 a.m.

A former Gainesville Elementary schoolteacher remains jailed without bond on charges of molesting four of his students in the classroom, Gainesville police said Monday.

Jerry Norman Jones, 51, of Commerce, was arrested Saturday on four counts of child molestation, Lt. Brian Kelly said.

Jones, a third-grade teacher who had worked at the school on McEver Road since August, resigned from his position on Dec. 11, a day after the last alleged incident occurred, Kelly said.

The incidents under investigation involved alleged groping of three 9-year-old girls and an 8-year-old girl, Kelly said. The girls were clothed when they were fondled and there was no skin-to-skin contact, Kelly said. The molestations were alleged to have occurred on Dec. 7 and Dec. 10, he said.

Elfreda Lakey, human resources director for Gainesville city schools, said a teacher complained to Gainesville Elementary Principal Priscilla Collins on Dec. 10, saying Jones seemed to be conducting himself inappropriately with some female students.

"A teacher said he may have been doing too much touching with the students," Lakey said.

Collins called Jones into her office and told him not to hug any more students, and he agreed, according to Lakey.

A day later, he failed to show up for work and submitted his resignation via e-mail, Lakey said.

On Dec. 12, a parent came to the school and told Collins her daughter was touched inappropriately.

Collins then notified the school’s assigned police officer and the local office of the state Division of Family and Children Services, Lakey said. Police said a letter from the school was sent home to parents of Jones’ students, notifying them of the allegations.

By Friday, three other victims had been identified, Kelly said.

Police continue to interview staff and students at the school, but "we feel pretty confident we’ve identified all of the victims," Kelly said.

Lakey could not say immediately where Jones had previously been employed. Kelly said he apparently had not faced any prior felony charges.

It could not be determined Monday whether Jones had an attorney.



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