Bethel schools employee under investigation

BETHEL TOWNSHIP — An employee of Bethel Local Schools is under investigation for alleged misconduct.

Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak said the group Dads Against Predictors, or DAP, has made allegations that the employee contacted what he thought was an underage girl for a conversation and then planned a meeting with the girl to have sex before being confronted by the DAP members.

The employee has been placed on administrative leave by the school system and computer equipment belonging to and used by the employee has been seized by the Miami County Sheriff’s Office for possible forensic investigation.

Duchak said, “Rest assured, a thorough investigation will be conducted.”

At this time, Miami County Sheriff’s Office detectives are working with an out-of-county law enforcement agency to determine, if, and where, a possible crime may have been committed and who would have jurisdiction in the case.

The organization, Dads Against Predators, or DAP, on their website said they are “seeking to expose predators who are preying on children using the internet.”

Members of the DAP group pose as juveniles online in an attempt to lure out predators, set up meetings and then confront the men who show up. DAP then posts videos of those confrontation videos on YouTube.

Bethel Local School Superintendent Justin Firks said Bethel Local School District took immediate and decisive action at 6 a.m. Wednesday, April 14, upon notification of the video from a concerned resident.

Firks said they contacted law enforcement to open an investigation due to a complaint made to school officials of potential misconduct of a Bethel Local Schools employee. Upon district review, he said, the employee was placed on non-disciplinary administrative leave while the complaint is being reviewed and investigated by local law enforcement.

“It is our understanding that none of the allegations or concerns made against (the employee) involve any students attending Bethel Local Schools,” Firks said. “The safety of our students and staff remains a top priority and it is our policy to place the employee in question on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation.”

Firks said school staff have been notified about this incident and assured that the district takes any allegations of misconduct seriously.

“The district has taken necessary steps to ensure that student learning continues in a safe environment and has assigned a qualified employee as a replacement for the employee in question until further notice,” Firks said.

District staff and security officials are cooperating and working closely with the Miami County Sheriff’s Office in the investigation, he said.

“Firks said the district cannot discuss confidential personnel matters during this review and investigation of the employee.