Lee Tibbetts – Teacher arrested for child molestation – School enabled him

Investigators say any time a child alleges abuse, they take it seriously and so should adults – especially educators.


Indianapolis – An IPS teacher has been arrested for child molestation.

John Marshall Community High School math teacher Lee Tibbetts was placed on administrative leave by Indianapolis Public Schools with pay during the investigation. Metro police sex crimes detective Greg Norris arrested Tibbetts after a thorough investigation, but the case is far from over.

Tibbetts, 33, faces five counts of child molestation and he was also arrested for one count of child solicitation involving a second student last year. One of Tibbetts’ 13-year-old male students claims he was repeatedly molested by the teacher in classrooms at the school.

“Alleging that he engaged in improper conduct during school hours on school property,” said IMPD Sgt. Paul Thompson.

The student also claims Tibbetts threatened to fail him if he ever told anyone.

Eyewitness News has now learned that IPS is investigating how another teacher handled information when the 13-year-old told her about the abuse in March. A school administrator also allegedly scorned Tibbetts after finding him and the boy in a locked classroom, but never suspected misconduct.

But now, sex crimes detectives are convinced that Tibbetts crossed the line.

“Because that’s where this case has gone from the beginning. We had one victim that had come forward, the complaint had been filed and the investigation was initiated. After that investigation was initiated, we heard additional complaints, at least one that has been verified of which he has been arrested for,” said Sgt. Thompson.

The investigation is ongoing, since detectives believe there is a possibility of other victims. Tibbetts first came under investigation in August 2008 when a 15-year-old boy complained to his mother about the teacher’s sexual advances.

“Asking him about his sexual preference, placing his hand on his knee, offering money. Stuff he should not have done as a teacher,” said the victim’s mother.

But the school dismissed the case, telling the boy’s mother the allegations were unfounded.

Months later, the 13-year-old boy came forward. Former Principal Jeff White believes the students.

“The kids who came forward, I would say that they were pretty honest with what they were conveying to me,” White said.

White said he suspected the teacher all along and didn’t trust him alone with students.

“Everyone is innocent until proven guilty,” White said. “But as a precaution with students, I wanted him removed.”

Investigators say any time a child alleges abuse, they take it seriously and so should adults – especially educators.

“It needs to be brought to the attention of law enforcement immediately so we can investigate,” Sgt. Thompson said.

Police believe there may be more victims waiting to come tell their own story.

“Once this is out in the media, there’s always the possibility of someone else coming forward and additional charges and investigation,” Sgt. Thompson said.

Tibbetts denies any wrongdoing, including improper contact with the victims. As part of their investigation, detectives are looking at the teacher’s computer and phone records. He will make his first court appearance next week.

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