VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – A Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ security assistant was arrested and charged with having sex with a student.
That’s concerning for parents, but even more concerning was how long it took school officials to let them know it happened.
“That’s kind of an odd way to use the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ type of policy,” said parent Penney Soboski. “Nobody asked, we are not telling.”
School officials say last week people started asking about the incident involving 24-year-old Rapheal Shields. That prompted the principal to email the parents.
“I felt like they did the right thing in letting us know, but then when I saw on the news that he was arrested before Christmas break and around Thanksgiving time, I was like ‘whoa, wait a minute why didn’t they tell us this sooner?'” Soboski added.
10 On Your Side asked school officials about the delay.
“VBCPS has a strong partnership with the Virginia Beach Police Department and we work closely with them any time there is an investigation into one of our students, staff members or schools,” said Chief Media and Communications Officer Natalie Allen. “In support and in partnership with police and their work, we do not comment publicly when investigations are still ongoing. While we recognize parents would prefer to hear of cases, such as the arrest of Mr. Shields, from their school administration, unfortunately, again, an ongoing police investigation limits the amount of information we can release. As we shared last week, our students’ safety is always paramount and, in this case, Salem’s administration followed division protocol by immediately removing Mr. Shields from his position upon hearing the allegations of misconduct. We also will continue to work with police as they complete their investigation into this matter, and provide any support necessary for students and families.”
10 On Your Side dug through court paperwork and found that the 14-year-old snuck out of her home, was picked up by Shields, and the two went to his townhouse on Blitz Court.
Police say the next morning Shields drove the girl back and her mother saw her get out of his car. The teen told her mother they had sex. Investigators say there are emails to back up the relationship.
“Knowing they didn’t tell us when it happened tells me they missed an opportunity to find out if there were more victims,” Soboski said. “It just makes you question all of it now.”
Court records say Shields developed a relationship with not only the 14-year-old girl, but also with other girls.
Shields is being held without bond. Court records indicate that when detectives searched his townhome they found 693 grams of marijuana. He told officers it wasn’t his.
Shields is scheduled to have a bond hearing Tuesday morning in Virginia Beach.