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Putnam teacher's aide charged with sexual assault

By Staff reports

HURRICANE, W.Va. -- A special education teacher's aide at Hurricane High School was arrested Tuesday and charged with sexual assault.

David R. Gibson, 59, faces four counts of second-degree sexual assault.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Putnam County Magistrate Court, a former Hurricane High special-needs teacher told State Police last month that her former student, now 21, went to stay with Gibson after leaving her foster home. The woman "has the mindset of a 13-year-old," State Police Cpl. R.A. Phillips wrote in the complaint.

The alleged victim stayed at Gibson's home for one week, and he repeatedly tried to get her intoxicated and touched her, according to the complaint. The woman said she had sex with Gibson after he had her drink several cups of vodka and smoke marijuana. She said she remembers the incident, but could not stop Gibson because she was not fully conscious. Gibson allegedly threatened to kill her if she told anyone about the incident.

The woman provided investigators with a picture taken in Gibson's home that showed the faces of the victim's classmates taped over naked pictures. Officers obtained a search warrant and found evidence of child pornography, as well as marijuana and drug paraphernalia, according to the complaint.

"Part of the evidence that has been recovered has been viewed by an expert in the field, who has indicated that there is child erotica, and he is looking at other evidence of child pornography, but the accused admitted to Cpl. Phillips that he had viewed child porn on the Internet," said Sgt. Cole Flowers.

When police interviewed Gibson, he allegedly admitted having sex with the 21-year-old woman, and said he was aware of her mental handicap. He also confessed to having sex with a 16-year-old Hurricane High student in 1996, according to a separate criminal complaint. That woman said Gibson also had sex with a friend of hers, who was 15 at the time.

According to Flowers, the 17-year gap between the incidents has led investigators to believe that other, similar incidents are likely to have happened.

"We wouldn't be surprised if others came forward," Flowers said. "That's why we want any and all information anybody has about any type of inappropriate behavior, no matter how minuscule they think it might be."

Gibson, who had been employed at the school for more than 20 years, resigned from his position at Hurricane High School last week. He is being held at the Western Regional Jail, with bail set at $100,000.


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