CCHS teacher accused of sexual assault
by The Press and Standard | December 13, 2018 5:00 am
Last Updated: December 13, 2018 at 9:59 am
Teacher suspended with pay by CCSD;
state suspends his educator’s certificate.
A Colleton County High School teacher has been removed from the classroom after being arrested on two counts of criminal sexual conduct with a minor.
Robert Eugene Valbert III, 34, of Cottageville was taken into custody on the criminal charges at 5 p.m. on Dec. 6.
One of the charges stems from an alleged incident in 2016; the second charge from an alleged incident this year.
Colleton County School District Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Operations Cliff Warren said that Valbert is in his second year of teaching at the high school. He was not with the school district when the alleged 2016 incident occurred.
Valbert reportedly fondled the genitals of a young male under the pretense of performing a medical exam, according to the South Carolina Board of Education.
An incident report was filed with the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office the afternoon of Nov. 20 that accused Valbert of the inappropriate contact with a 16-year-old student at the high school. The sheriff’s office was alerted to the alleged incident, which reportedly occurred in October, by the Department of Social Services.
According to the incident report, a laptop computer was taken into evidence in connection with that incident.
The reported 2016 incident, according to the arrest warrant, occurred at Valbert’s home early in the year and involved a 14-year-old male. In that incident, Valbert allegedly “performed a physical on the victim for no apparent reason,” according to the arrest affidavit.
On Dec. 7 the South Carolina Board of Education suspended Valbert’s educator’s certificate.
The Colleton County School District also put Valbert on administrative leave following the arrest.
In a prepared statement, School Superintendent Dr. Franklin Foster said, “As you are aware, this is a personnel matter and the district can only provide the information below:
“It is a top priority of the district to ensure the safety of our students and staff and we take all allegations seriously. The district worked in cooperation with the Colleton County Sheriff’s Department regarding an allegation against the employee. The employee was immediately placed on administrative leave with pay, which continues. The district is continuing to cooperate with law enforcement. Since this is a personnel matter, the district has no further comments at this time.”
The South Carolina School Board document approving the suspension states: “The SCDE has reason to believe that, due to the serious nature of these allegations of misconduct, Mr. Valbert may pose a threat to the health, safety and welfare of students who may be under his instruction, and that emergency action is required. After considering the evidence presented by the SCDE (South Carolina Department of Education), the chair of the State Board finds that Mr. Valbert’s educator’s certificate shall be summarily suspended until a due process hearing is held and/or this matter is otherwise resolved.”
The SCDE is directed to serve notice on Valbert of the summary suspension, as well as the possible suspension or revocation of his educator’s certificate.”
Valbert, who uses the first name Gene, taught health science at the high school. His courses included clinical studies, health science 1, health science 2 and medical terms.
He graduated from Walterboro High School in 2002 with a certified nursing assistant certification from Thunderbolt Career and Technology Center.
He obtained an associate degree in nursing at Trident Technical College and is a licensed as a registered nurse.