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Community shows up to get answers from schools about sex abuse scandal

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Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington speaks at a community meeting at Benton High School to give parents tips on how to communicate with their child regarding sexual abuse and answer questions. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

By Stacey Tinsley, stinsley@bossierpress.com

In the wake of a Benton Elementary school teacher’s arrested for sexual crimes against students, Bossier Schools hosted a community meeting Tuesday night.

Held at the Benton High School gymnasium Tuesday, Oct. 23, the meeting was designed to give parents tips on how to communicate with their child regarding sexual abuse and answer questions that they might have.

Aubrey “Perry” Norcross, 47, of the 2500 block of Waverly Street, Bossier City, was charged Oct. 19 with 1st degree rape of a student after he had been arrested Oct. 17 for video voyeurism of another student.

“We trusted him with our children and that trust was violated. It sickens and angers me, and we all feel this sense of betrayal right now,” said Bossier schools Superintendent Scott Smith.

Roughly 300 community residents, which consisted of parents, grandparents and children attended the community meeting.  

Bossier Schools Superintendent Scott Smith speaks at a community meeting at Benton High School to give parents tips on how to communicate with their child regarding sexual abuse and answer questions. (Stacey Tinsley/Press-Tribune)

On hand to answer questions from the public were Smith, Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington, outside psychologist Dr. Grady Bray, and representatives from the Gingerbread House.

Smith assured parents that the School District had no prior suspicions or complaints about alleged sexual misconduct by Norcross and that district officials would have acted if they did.

“As superintendent of the Bossier Parish school system. A district that is known for excellence and a district where you have entrusted in our care the 23,000 plus children that our in our school system. I can personally assure you that we would have never looked the other way or not acted in any form knowing that any kind of sexual misconduct. No sexual misconduct, before now, has been reported to us. We would have acted very very quickly. That’s our nature in the Bossier Parish school system,” said Smith.

Sheriff Whittington told residents that more people have come forward with allegations against Norcross.

“More victims have come forward. We’re investigating those (allegations),” said Whittington.

Sheriff Whittington stated that the additional complaints involve one to 10 more possible victims, both male and female.

“It takes time searching computers and phones and everything. We’ll be probably bringing additional charges forth later this week.” said Whittington.

Dr. Bray,  offered some helpful advise on how to speak to your children about these types of situations. The district hired Dr. Bray’s outside crisis management team, Disaster Management International of Little Rock, Ark., to assist school personnel with assessing and counseling students and families affected by the crisis.

“Listen to children as opposed to talking to children. I’ll stress the importance of not interrogating children, but instead learning to use open-ended statements, ‘Yes’ or ‘no’ kind of statements,” said Bray.

Representatives of the Gingerbread House offered helpful tips on how to speak to your child if they come to you and state that they were sexually abused:

  • Be as calm as possible with children.
  • Remind the child that it is not his or her fault.
  • Don’t ask a child why he or she did not tell sooner.
  • Don’t criticize the abuser or say bad things will happen to the abuser.
  • Don’t ask a lot of questions and don’t let other family or friends ask the child about it.
  • Report all the information you have to authorities.

Norcross is currently being held at the Bossier Maximum Security Facility on $900,000 bail.

Someone shared with me that in the past, years ago, as a PE teacher this guy would lock the gym doors when a class was in there with him. Why was this even allowed????