The Chesterfield Police Division tried to inform the Fairfax colleges division when a faculty counselor
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The Chesterfield Police Division tried to inform the Fairfax colleges division when a faculty counselor was arrested on intercourse costs, however the emails had been by no means delivered, and the counselor flew beneath the radar and continued his employment with the state’s largest faculty division for 20 months after his first solicitation arrest.
Darren Thornton, 50, was arrested in a November 2020 undercover chat operation on costs together with soliciting prostitution from a minor. On the time, he was employed by Fairfax County Public Colleges as a faculty counselor.
The Chesterfield Police Division mentioned Tuesday that an worker known as Fairfax colleges inside a day of Thornton’s 2020 arrest to seek out out the easiest way to inform the superintendent about Thornton being arrested. However a Fairfax colleges worker supplied two incorrect e mail addresses for the superintendent, based on an announcement launched Tuesday afternoon by Chesterfield County Police Chief Col. Jeffrey Katz.
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Thornton was convicted March 11 and sentenced to 5 years, court docket paperwork present. The court docket suspended the sentence on the circumstances of fine conduct, following the regulation and paying court docket prices.
After his conviction, he was required to register as a sexual offender with the Virginia State Police. Thornton recognized himself as “self-employed” whereas he was nonetheless employed by Fairfax colleges.
In June, Thornton was arrested in one other on-line chatting operation in Chesterfield on costs of solicitation of prostitution and frequenting a bawdy place. Katz and his workforce acknowledged Thornton from the final undercover sting operation, Katz mentioned.
“I used to be stunned to see that he was nonetheless listed on Fairfax County College’s webpage as a faculty counselor and inquired of our workers how that may very well be potential,” Katz mentioned in an announcement Tuesday. “The following day, our particular victims unit supervisor made a second cellphone notification to Fairfax County Colleges, whereupon the matter seems to have been addressed administratively along with his firing in August.”
The Virginia Division of Corrections is opening an investigation into the incident. Spokesman Benjamin Jarvela mentioned the division “is ready to take any and all needed actions following the outcomes of the investigation.”
Fairfax Colleges Superintendent Michelle Reid, who started her job July 1, advised information shops that she didn’t study Thornton’s first solicitation arrest till July 28.
The Instances-Dispatch first inquired about Thornton’s employment in relation to his 2020 arrest on the afternoon of July 28. Shortly after the inquiry, his workers web page was deleted from the Fairfax colleges web site.
Katz mentioned he discovered Monday that the emails despatched in 2020, following the division’s cellphone name with the college division, didn’t get delivered to the superintendent. The wrong e mail addresses utilized by Chesterfield Police workers had been supplied by Fairfax colleges, based on Katz.
“Given the truth the previous superintendent had a number of e mail addresses throughout his tenure, it’s potential we had been supplied invalid or out-of-date addresses after we requested learn how to make this notification,” Katz mentioned within the assertion. “The technical nuances of the e-mail supply failure are nonetheless unknown. Nonetheless, we’re totally dedicated to working in partnership with Fairfax County Colleges to establish the problem and decide how we will keep away from a lapse in communication sooner or later.”
Fairfax colleges spokeswoman Julie Moult declined to reply to a number of inquiries from the Instances-Dispatch on Tuesday.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Jillian Balow is getting ready a communication that may exit to all faculty divisions Friday to remind them of their duties associated to state legal guidelines, insurance policies and steerage to guard college students from worker misconduct, based on state Division of Schooling spokesman Charles Pyle.
Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Monday advised WSET-TV that the data was “an astonishing revelation.”
“For there to be a faculty counselor, center faculty counselor, who was arrested for intercourse solicitation of a minor again in November 2020,” WSET reported, “And for that difficulty solely now to be resolved, if these details are right, that is wholly unacceptable. And that is, once more, a failure on behalf of directors to in truth defend college students.”
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