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INVESTIGATIVE UNIT: Baker school system employee accused of sexual battery returns to working at school

1 month 3 weeks 20 hours ago Thursday, May 02 2024 May 2, 2024 May 02, 2024 6:30 PM May 02, 2024 in News
Source: WBRZ

BAKER - A City of Baker School System employee accused of sexual battery is back at work and now trying to clear his name.

The WBRZ Investigative Unit has filed several reports on Rodney Craig. Two women who have come forward allege inappropriate interactions between them and Craig while on the job. In one case, a police report has been filed.

Cindy Hamilton says the past few weeks have been terrible for her and fears returning to her bus route. She has been on leave since reporting an inappropriate interaction at the school board office supply warehouse with Rodney Craig.

Attorney Robert Tucker is handling Craig's case.

"It has definitely tarnished his reputation and that's why we're here to clarify that all of the accusations against Mr. Craig at this time have been found unfounded," said Tucker.

Craig is back at the office as the case makes its way through the legal system, he's facing a charge of sexual battery from the Baker Police Department.

"I feel like the system has failed me because I'm the victim and I'm not being treated like that," said Hamilton.

The incident has caused Hamilton stress. She says what she experienced on March 5, 2024, at her job with Craig haunts her.

"It has caused me a lot of trauma, I have been seeking counseling since the day that it happened," she said.

Hamilton says she was looking for cleaning supplies to clean her bus in the warehouse at the Baker School Board Office.

"All I felt was him come up behind me, I felt his body pressing all up against mine, the back part of my butt and everything, and when I turned and I pushed him off of me and the only thing that he can do was take his hand and put it on his penis and told me that was for me," said Hamilton.

Hamilton says she initially reported it to the school system, but when Craig called on the phone, she went to police.

"I went and got a restraining order," she said.

The Baker School System website says Craig is the Plant & Facilities Operations Technician.

"He has returned to work, he has been working as a dutiful employee with Baker School System," said Tucker.

Craig's attorney shared a document from Superintendent James Stroder about his administrative leave. The document says Craig requested to be placed on administrative leave on March 25, 2024. After meeting with the Superintendent, Craig returned to work after April 18, 2024. His return is based on the condition that Craig is to be aware of his surroundings and not place himself in situations where he might be alone with staff members. The document says if there are any more complaints involving sexual harassment and Craig is found alone with a staff member, it can be grounds for disciplinary action, including termination.

Antonia Caine used to be the Principal of Baker Middle School. She explained an interaction she had with Craig last year.

"He touched my shoulder, then each time he would go down, he touched my back and then he touched my butt," said Caine.

Following the incident, Caine says she reported it in writing and in person.

With Craig back at work, Hamilton feels unsettled about returning to drive the school bus.

"I don't feel comfortable with going back, I really don't," said Hamilton.

Superintendent Stroder said last month that because this is an active ongoing criminal investigation, he cannot comment.

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