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Wichita school official remains on paid suspension as investigation continues

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, May 16, 2013, at 7:51 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, April 8, 2014, at 11:33 a.m.

The Wichita school district’s safety services supervisor, Alex Robinson, has remained on paid suspension for nearly four months after he was arrested on suspicion of child sex crimes. Robinson has not been charged.

Robinson is being paid a salary of $75,790 a year.

Normally, a school district employee arrested in a felony case is suspended with pay pending adjudication or resolution of the case, said district spokeswoman Susan Arensman. But Robinson’s case remains unresolved. Police say they are continuing to investigate. No charges have been filed.

Robinson, a former Wichita police officer and youth mentor who received presidential recognition for his volunteer work, couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday. His attorney, Kurt Kerns, said, “After this much time, if there was clear proof of any crime being committed, formal charges would have been pursued. I’m sure the investigating authorities recognize at this time that he’s innocent.”

Kerns said he hoped that the school district and youth organizations “will recognize that he’s innocent and welcome him back.”

Kerns added: “Once that person is accused, even falsely, that person … is never looked at the same, and that’s the sad reality.”

Police have described the investigation as complex. Told of Kerns’ comments, Wichita police Capt. Brent Allred said: “We continue to do additional interviews, and that’s why … it is still an ongoing investigation. And we will not present this investigation to the District Attorney’s Office until we have all the facts and information.” It would be up to the district attorney’s office whether to file charges, and prosecutors could take time reviewing possible evidence from police before a decision gets made.

On Jan. 18, according to Sedgwick County Jail records, Robinson was booked on two counts of aggravated criminal sodomy and four counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. Robinson, 50, was released on bond. A police report filed in the case on Jan. 17 identified the victim as a 24-year-old man who said he was 12 when Robinson had sex with him. The statute of limitations in child sex crimes cases is usually five years, but there are exceptions.

Kathy Toelkes, spokeswoman for the State Department of Education, said Thursday that there is “no best practice or guidance” from the state on how long a school employee should remain on paid suspension. “It’s a personnel matter, a personnel policy, that’s made at the local district level, so that’s really in their court,” Toelkes said.

Arensman, the Wichita school district spokeswoman, said she could say only that Robinson remains on paid leave.

Robinson has in recent years volunteered with and served on the board of directors for Real Men, Real Heroes, a nonprofit organization whose main focus is mentoring at-risk youths. In January, after board members learned of the police investigation, the board asked Robinson to resign.

Buddy Shannon, president of Real Men, Real Heroes, said at the time: “We’re not presuming his innocence or his guilt, but due to the serious nature of the allegations, the board acted on asking for his resignation.”

On Thursday, Shannon said there has been no change since then in the board’s stance on Robinson.

Reach Tim Potter at 316-268-6684 or tpotter@wichitaeagle.com.

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