A Broken Arrow elementary school teacher who resigned amid allegations of inappropriate contact with his students has been charged in connection with the accusations.
Edward Lee Hodge, 55, was a teacher at Aspen Creek Elementary school last year, when four students from his class began reporting to administrators that
Hodge touched them inappropriately and made them feel uncomfortable. When the allegations came to light in mid-May, Hodge was removed from the classroom.
He reportedly admitted that he "messed up," and said that he had himself been molested as a child by older teenagers and had received therapy for the events in
According to the four girls, aged 10 to 12, Hodge would pressure them into hugging him, even when they didn't want to. The girls claimed that Hodge would touch them on their upper thighs and the inside of their thighs. One girl reported that when Hodge hugged her, his "hand would stay still on her butt."
The girls say that on several occasions, they attempted to tell the school counselor about their experiences in Hodge's classroom. However, when they declined to tell their teacher why they wanted to see the counselor, they say, he refused to let them the classroom.
One of the accusers told authorities that she did not want her teacher to lose his job; she just wanted him to stop making her uncomfortable.
According to an affidavit, one teacher reported witnessing a child sitting in Hodge's lap during a Christmas party.
As a result of the investigation by Broken Arrow Police, the Tulsa County District Attorney filed charges this week against Hodge. He is charged with four counts of lewd molestation. Hodge was arrested and has subsequently been released on $50,000 bond for each count.
The former teacher is charged under 21 O.S. 1123 (A), Lewd or Indecent Acts or Proposals to a Child Under 16. Under this law, it is a felony to, among other things, "In any manner lewdly or lasciviously look upon, touch, maul, or feel the body or private parts of any child under sixteen (16) years of age in any indecent manner or in any manner relating to sexual matters or sexual interest."
Lewd acts with a minor is punishable by 3 to 20 years in prison unless the child is under the age of 12 at the time of the offense. If the child is under the age of 12, the offense is punishable by a minimum of 25 years in prison. Conviction of lewd acts mandates lifetime sex offender registration.
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