MAPLE HEIGHTS, Ohio-- An alert mother uncovered secret phone calls made to her daughter that just led to sex charges against an adult male working as a middle school teacher’s aide, the FOX 8 I-Team learned.
The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office indicted Michael Robertson, Jr.
They said he had been working as a teacher’s aide at Milkovich Middle School in Maple Heights.
The mother of a student there said one Sunday morning, she found her daughter having a video chat with the man.
"I'm like ‘Hello, hello, hello?’" she told the FOX 8 I-Team. "He eventually put his face in the camera, and I'm like, ‘Who is this?’"
When the mother found out more about the man on the other end of the line, she was furious.
"I'm asking you as a staff from the school, why are you on the phone with my daughter? So yeah, I was outraged," she said.
"There were multiple photographs exchanged as well as live chats," said assistant Cuyahoga County prosecutor Carl Sullivan
Sullivan said the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force dug into phones and more, and they found the girl had sent the man an explicit photo.
“One of the lessons here is you send your kids to school, and that’s the last place you'd expect predators to be lurking," Sullivan said.
The I-Team went to the address for the suspect listed on court records and we got no answer.
We also went to the middle school. There, officials directed us to Maple Heights City Schools headquarters.
The superintendent told us the school had no warning signs. The superintendent also said the district placed Robertson on paid leave during the investigation. First, having him sit at home. Then, having him come to the headquarters to do paperwork away from kids. Finally, as the last school year ended, we`re told he finally resigned.
Attorney Christopher McNeal is now working with the victim’s family asking more hard questions of the school system.
"This is someone who gained the trust, isolated one particular victim here," McNeal said. "We want to know what they knew about Mr. Robertson's conduct, not only as it related to this incident, but any other misconduct."
Meantime, the victim’s mother said she believes all parents can learn from this.
“I want other parents to realize that teachers and students have boundaries. I want ‘em to be alert," she said.
Robertson will go to court soon to begin defending himself against the charges. If convicted, he could be labelled a sex offender.