CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - A school security officer who was fired for inappropriate sexual behavior with students at Cleveland Metropolitan School District is back working with kids.
Eric Simpkins, who was fired in March 2017 after our series of reports on Cleveland Metropolitan School District's Police Department and security team, was hired in May as a Residential Advisor at the Cleveland Christian Home's Resident Treatment Center.
For more than 100 years, the Cleveland Christian Home Resident Treatment Center has been a haven of hope and healing for adolescent and teen boys who were often times abused, neglected and abandoned by their families.
The center is staffed by dedicated workers like our sources, who undergo extensive background checks before getting hired.
They're fingerprinted, and their histories are reviewed by the Bureau of Criminal Investigations, the Attorney General along with Children and Family Services.
The two teenagers who were handled inappropriately by Simpkins at John Hay High School told us back in March that they were preyed upon in the school's corridor.
"Massaging my neck, then touching my butt. Pulling me into an empty hallway. Who knows what he would have done if I hadn't broken loose," said one of the victims during our interview.
In the end, the prosecutor declined to press charges for lack of evidence, but the victim's parents claimed they were told critical evidence – the school's security footage – had been destroyed.
Our investigative team obtained the video and played it on air.
Shortly after, the school board fired Simpkins for unprofessional conduct, inappropriate sexual behavior and sexual harassment.
It didn't take Simpkins very long to find his next job working with kids.
Two months later, in May, he was hired as a Residential Advisor supervising vulnerable young boys at the Cleveland Christian Home.
Several workers at the Christian Home told us they were well aware of Simpkins' history at with Cleveland schools after watching our reports.
If workers knew about Simpkin's past, why didn't Cleveland Christian Home C.E.O. Charles Tuttle?
He was completely unaware until we told him about it, over the phone. Tuttle was also unaware of the current lawsuit both John Hay students filed against Simpkins, Cleveland Metropolitan School District and the CMSD Board of Education for $300,000.
Still, Tuttle defends the hiring of Simpkins saying their extensive background checks show Simpkins was never convicted of a crime.
Tuttle claims he was told by Children and Family Services that he CMSD allegations where "unsubstantiated" but claims he'd never seen a document from the same agency that we previously report on.
In that document, Children and Family Services said it was concerned Simpkins acted "inappropriate and unprofessional, with hugging and touching" not only to the alleged victim on the video, but other female students as well.
BackTrack, a company contracted by the Cleveland Christian home to check previous employment history, contacted CMSD about Simpkins.
According to Tuttle, CMSD reported to BackTrack that Simpkins had "voluntarily resigned" and that there was "absolutely no statements that included anything about abuse." We've asked for a copy of the statement provided to BackTrack from CMSD.
The alleged statement from CMSD directly conflicts a termination letter obtained by our investigative team from CMSD's public record department. The letter states that Simpkins was terminated for Sexual Harassment, Inappropriate Sexual Behavior and more.
Where is the disconnect on how Simpkin's employment ended at CMSD?
We've reached out to CMSD. Simpkins continues to dodge our questions.
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