PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) - A teacher employed with Portsmouth Public Schools was arrested on Feb. 17 on allegations that date back more than 30 years.
Clarence Cornelius Sykes, 57, of the 3000 block of Clover Meadows Drive in Chesapeake, was charged with two counts of indecent liberties with a minor, according to police.
The alleged incidents are related to two incidents that occurred in 1978 and 1979 in Portsmouth, Va.
Police say detectives received information late last month that led to investigating incidents allegedly involving a then 11-year-old boy.
Bill Prince with the Portsmouth Commonwealth's Attorney's Office said that this was a strong case and that Sykes had made statements to police admitting to what had taken place and also to 11 other victims in Lynchburg, where Sykes used to live.
Jan Westerbeck with Portsmouth Police said the investigation is still ongoing.
Sykes worked at I.C. Norcom from October 1997 to June 2001 and again from August 2005 until Feb. 17, 2012. Portsmouth Public Schools spokeswoman Maureen Mizelle said Sykes has been suspended without pay.
School officials sent Sykes a letter Thursday night to inform him of the suspension. Mizelle said no letter has been sent home to students explaining the situation with Sykes.
Before his most recent employment at I.C. Norcom, Sykes worked at Churchland Middle School.
Mizelle said a background check was done on Sykes before he was hired both times, but the checks didn't produce any red flags. Until yesterday, Sykes had never any serious charges.
According to the school system's personnel policy, when a teacher is hired in the City of Portsmouth, they can only have misdemeanors on their record.
If an arrest occurs after they are hired, they can be suspended or dismissed. The policy does not say a teacher is required to tell the school about what happened.
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