PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) - Portsmouth School Board members have fired a teacher accused in a sex crimes case that happened more than 30 years ago.
The decision to fire Clarence Cornelius Sykes was made during a closed door session Thursday night.
Sykes, 57, of the 3000 block of Clover Meadows Drive in Chesapeake, was charged with two counts of indecent liberties with a minor on Feb. 17, according to police.
The charges stem from two incidents that allegedly occurred in 1978 and 1979 in Portsmouth, Va.
Police say detectives received information late last month from the accuser, who was 11-years-old at the time of the alleged crimes.
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.
Upon his arrest, Portsmouth Public Schools spokeswoman Maureen Mizelle said Sykes was suspended without pay.
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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