TROUTMAN, N.C. - An employee at an Iredell middle school has been arrested and charged with crimes against a child, according to the Iredell County Sheriff's Office.
Officials said R. Jeffrey Speaks, 57, of Troutman was arrested Monday on school grounds at Troutman Middle School.
Speaks was charged with 16 counts of indecent liberties with a child.
Investigators said detectives spoke with a woman on Feb. 10 who told them that her daughters were possible victims of sexual assaults. On Feb. 20, the children were interviewed at the Dove House Child Advocacy Center.
Deputies said he is employed as a data controller at the school. Investigators said the accuser is not a student at the school.
“Very shocking,” mother Renee Montgomery said. “It surprises you that he is able to be in the school."
Speaks has worked in the Iredell County Schools since 2005. First he was a custodian at Harmony Elementary, then the past couple years at Troutman Middle as the data manager.
At the school Tuesday, parents like Montgomery said they either didn't know Speaks or had little interaction with him. Investigators said he worked in data entry holding a position similar to an IT person.
"I called him two times and he called me back one time trying to set up data for my daughter,” Montgomery said.
The arrest warrants state the incidents started last May and continued through December and did not happen on school grounds. All of the cases in involved a girl under the age of 16.
At his home north of Statesville, family members said they were shocked by his arrest but declined to talk.
Parents like Jenny Bara said she has already had a conversation with her daughter.
"I was ready to pull my kid out of the school. My daughter is only in sixth grade and I explained to her of any adult in that situation you need to let someone know. She said I didn't know who he was. It is just scary,” Bara said..
The school district has not returned Eyewitness News’ phone calls, but Channel 9 learned from parents that an email was sent late Monday alerting them to the arrest.
Detectives said the investigation is still ongoing, but that there is nothing which would lead them to believe any crime occurred on any school property or involving any child at Troutman Middle School.
Speaks is in the Iredell County Detention Center under a $200,000 secured bond.