Olin teacher faced previous abuse charges in Oskaloosa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Olin teacher faced previous abuse charges in Oskaloosa

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OLIN (KWWL) -- A teacher at Olin High School is facing charges he had inappropriate contact with a 15-year old student. The Jones County Sheriff's Department reports 32-year old Jeremy Chamberlin touched and sent inappropriate texts and obscene pictures to a freshman.  Chief Deputy Greg Graver reports the girl was his student and an athlete of Chamberlin.

It comes as a shock to the district that this isn't the first time he's been accused of such crimes. According to court documents, Chamberlin was accused of sexual assault nearly two years ago in Oskaloosa. He was charged with grabbing a 16-year old's breast and trying to put his hands down her pants. Those charges were eventually dropped, and Chamberlin pleaded guilty to lesser charges of simple assault.

Chamberlin resigned from his position at Oskaloosa schools after the incident, and within a few weeks he was hired back as a substitute teacher in his hometown of Olin. School district leaders claim they did a background check on Chamberlin, and these accusations of sexual abuse in Oskaloosa never came up. Principal Jeff Nance said he wishes they knew then what they know now.

"We're having to deal with the question of why? Why did he get hired if this was going on?" noted Nance.

They're questions Nance wishes he had a better answer for. Nance signed on to lead Olin Schools in July 2009, and one of his first assignments was hiring a full-time special education teacher. Chamberlin was already subbing in the district.

"We got a couple letters of recommendation from Oskaloosa, one being from the Athletic Director, and one being the guidance counselor," he said.

Nance was shocked when a student came to him on January 8,2010, claiming Chamberlin was sexually assaulting her.

"My first reaction was, this can't be true," Nance said. "I didn't know who to believe, and you could tell there was something going on."

One of the issues, was a lack of evidence. The student claimed Chamberlin had sent her sexually obscene text messages, but had not saved them on her phone.

"It was all hearsay at that point," said Nance.

It turns out, obtaining that proof from cell phone providers is why the investigation has taken more than two months.

"When you're executing search warrants and subpoenas, you're relying on other companies to get your information. And a lot of times its up to them when they get that back to us. And we obviously can't react to that information until we have it," said Jones County Chief Deputy Greg Graver.

Nance said they are re-evaluating their hiring process. He said the situation is especially hard on other teachers in the district. Many of them have known Chamberlin since grade school.

Chamberlin was released from Jones County jail Wednesday afternoon on $10,000 bond. At this point, Chamberlin is still on administrative leave from the district. The superintendent will make a decision soon whether or not to terminate his contract.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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