HOLLAND – This week, families received a letter from Linda Phelan, Holland Elementary School’s principal, informing them that the husband of a school employee had been arrested on felony charges associated with the sexual assault of a child.
Phelan’s letter identifies the person arrested as Robert Stacey. According to court records, Stacey is charged with inappropriately touching a five year old child in January of 2007 and with having repeated, nonconsensual sexual contact for two years with a girl under 16 years of age from January 1998 to June of 2000.
Phelan’s letter did not state where the arrest took place, but during a telephone interview Thursday afternoon, Phelan acknowledged the arrest took place just outside the school on School Road.
“It was in the street in front of the school,” Phelan said. “Yeah, technically maybe it could be on school grounds. The actual arrest I believe was in the street. School Road is practically part of our driveway.”
The arrest has nothing to do with the school, Phelan said. She said some people got concerned because the arrest appeared in the press and did involve the spouse of someone who works at the school.
“It has nothing to do with the school, it has nothing to do with safety,” said Phelan. “The kids were always safe.”
Phelan said some information in the public is inaccurate but she declined to say what. Phelan stressed during the interview and in the letter that Stacey’s wife was not the person arrested, was not involved and will continue to be employed by the school.
According to court records, 63-year-old Stacey of Holland faces a charge of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child, attempted obstruction of justice, and repeated sexual aggravated assault with a child. Stacey, who appeared in court Dec. 21, entered not guilty pleas to the charges
A 10-year-old child, identified in court records as Victim #1, disclosed that Stacey molested her when she was five years old. The victim told State Police Detective Lyle Decker and Megan Gyles, from the Department of Children and Families, that the incident took place while she was staying at the Stacey home and that she had been sleeping in bed between the couple. The victim said she had to keep turning because Stacey kept touching her. The victim fell asleep when the touching stopped. After the incident, the victim refused to spend the night at the Stacey’s.
An individual close to the victim said he didn’t notice anything was wrong and never pushed the issue and made other arrangements when the girl didn’t want to stay with the Stacey’s.
The victim didn’t tell anyone about what happened until someone recently took her to the doctor and told her to tell the doctor everything.
Court records state that the victim overheard another girl telling someone about about how Stacey had touched the second girl.
The second victim, now 37, told police that Stacey started molesting her when she was around 13 and ended when she turned 15. She said Stacey had attempted to bribe her because he felt guilty and had threatened to kill himself and everyone else if anyone found out about what he did.
Stacey met with State Police at the barracks in Derby. He told police that the first victim spent the night between two and four times and probably slept on the floor because there were no extra beds. He admitted the child had slept in bed with him but adamantly denied touching her. He also denied any sexual interaction with the second victim.
Court records state that Stacey checked into the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in White River Junction. Court records state that Stacey admitted to VA staff that he had had sexual contact with the first and second victim, and with a third victim that lead to charges in Windsor, VT.
The Holland School Board will have a budget meeting Monday. The regular meeting will be Jan. 14. The board will decide if the issue will be brought up.
As of Thursday, Stacey was lodge at the Northern State Correctional Facility on $100,000 bail.
As for the Holland Elementary School building, officials continue with their new security measures that went into place a week prior to vacation. The measurers entail that all doors entering the school be locked at all times, all classroom doors be closed and locked during the school day and classes be escorted when moving from one place to another.