Sexual assault allegations were filed by Pennsylvania State Police against an eighth grade math teacher at Slippery Rock Area School District (SRASD) on Thursday.
Robert Preston Willison, 51, is a resident of Slippery Rock Township. State Police began their investigation of Willison after a complaint was filed through the child abuse reporting system ChildLine. According to the complaint, Willison allegedly assaulted four students on four separate occasions between the dates of Aug. 15 and Sept. 20.
Of the alleged victims, three are 13 and one is 14 years of age. In interviews with the State Police, all four girls alleged that Willison had touched their buttocks on multiple occasions.
Willison is being charged with felony counts of institutional sexual assault, corruption of minors and endangering the welfare of children, a misdemeanor count of indecent assault and a summary count of harassment. According to court documents, he is currently awaiting a preliminary hearing.
This is not the first time Willison has been accused of inappropriate behavior during his time as a staff member at SRASD. He has previously been suspended twice, once in 2012 for allegedly touching a female teacher inappropriately in the copy room. The other alleged incident took place in 2015 when Willison reportedly touched another female teacher and made inappropriate comments to her about Slippery Rock students.
Willison has been suspended from his position at the school district, but his name, job title and contact information can be found on their website. Superintendent of schools Dr. Alfonso Angelucci released a statement on the district’s website on Friday:
“Yesterday, criminal charges were filed against a teacher in our Middle School. Unfortunately, because of these pending charges, and related personnel matters and student involvement, the District cannot provide any further comment or information.”
The school district could not be reached for further comment on the incident.
Slippery Rock Mayor Jondavid Longo was disheartened by the possibility of students within the school district being subject to such unacceptable behavior.
“Let me start by saying that I find any form of sexual harassment or assault to be absolutely reprehensible,” Longo said. “The idea of someone assaulting our innocent children at school is especially abhorrent.”
Longo emphasized the importance of a thorough investigation into the matter to ensure the safety of the students in Slippery Rock. He also clarified that the borough will not be taking any direct action, as this matter is being dealt with solely by State Police.
Longo did emphasize the importance of reporting sexual abuse when it happens in order to protect the community as a whole.
“If anyone of any age ever experiences sexual harassment or assault in our town, I urge them to come forward to our borough police department,” Longo said. “The safety of our citizens, including students of the school district and university, is of utmost importance to us.”