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Amherst schools' employee arrested, facing child sex charges
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Amherst schools' employee arrested, facing child sex charges

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A coordinator in Amherst County Public Schools’ alternative to suspension program has been arrested and is charged with four sex-related felonies involving a minor.

Robert Lonnell Adams, 43, of Madison Heights, was booked Monday into the Amherst Adult Detention Center and faces one count each of sexually assaulting a minor under age 13, carnal knowledge of a minor, indecent liberties with a child younger than age 15 and forcible sodomy of a minor younger than age 13, according to online Blue Ridge Regional Jail Authority records and arrest warrant records filed in Amherst Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

The alleged offenses occurred 17 years ago in August 2003, according to arrest warrant records.

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In an email Thursday, Jim Gallagher, chief of human resources for Amherst County Public Schools, said Adams began employment with the division in the fall of the 2018-19 school year in a coaching capacity. Adams was hired as at-risk coordinator for the division’s Alternative to Suspension Center on Feb. 1, 2019, and currently serves in that capacity, Gallagher wrote.

“ACPS is aware of the charges against Mr. Adams and is taking all appropriate actions in response,” Gallagher wrote in the email Thursday.

Gallagher said he could not further comment on the personnel matter.

For more than a year, the alternative to suspension program has placed suspended students at the Amherst Education Center in Madison Heights, in many cases replacing the at-home suspension practice. School administrators have said the program, which launched in early 2019, has been highly successful in reducing out-of-school suspensions.

Adams appeared in Amherst Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court for an attorney advisement hearing Tuesday and intends to hire an attorney, according to the clerk’s office. Another advisement hearing is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. Jan. 19.

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