Another parent has stepped forward to speak about convicted child pornographer Jacob Garlock — saying he inappropriately photographed her child inside Eastwood Elementary School.
The young Oberlin girl, who we’ll call Eva to protect her identity, told her mother Garlock, then a first grade teacher, took her to a room and took pictures of her. The two were allegedly alone while she was photographed.
“He was removing her from classrooms and taking pictures of her,” said Deborah, which is a fake name we’ve given the mother due to the sexual nature of the case.
Attorney Scott Kuboff of Triscaro and Associates represents the family. He said none of the images of Eva were nude, but Garlock took photos of her feet.
“The first thing we did was contact the FBI,” Deborah said. “That was the place we felt most comfortable. The FBI helped us move forward.”
“My husband and I were both pretty devastated. We’re still pretty devastated,” she said.
Garlock has pleaded guilty to child pornography charges in federal court and is awaiting sentencing next month. He was allowed to quietly resign during an FBI investigation early last year and surrendered his Ohio teaching license.
Deborah is the second parent to tell her story to the News-Tribune in recent weeks on the condition of anonymity. Last week, we reported how “Jenny” told us she found Garlock had photos of her nine-year-old daughter in the bathtub, and in her pajamas with the image zoomed in to focus on her underwear.
After that report, and in response to several phone calls from concerned residents, Oberlin Schools superintendent David Hall released a statement.
“The district was not directly involved in the investigation of those charges or the criminal proceedings as the criminal charges were not related to any Oberlin students and the criminal activity occurred privately, outside of the school setting and outside of Mr. Garlock’s work day,” Hall said.
“The district was assured by the FBI that there were no incidences of criminal activity that occurred at school or with Oberlin students,” he said. “The FBI conducted a thorough investigation.”
The Oberlin Schools were informed Feb. 12 that the FBI was conducting a criminal investigation. Hall said Garlock was placed on administrative leave the following day and the investigation was reported to the Ohio Department of Education.
The investigation began before Hall was hired in July.
Hall said Garlock resigned within weeks following the district’s actions.
“Because Mr. Garlock’s criminal activity was unrelated to his employment with the district, the district had very little involvement in the investigation,” he said. “We fully cooperated with the FBI to the extent we were asked, but the FBI shared very little information about the allegations due to the ongoing investigation.”
The statement did not placate Kuboff.
“The Oberlin School district’s response to former teacher, Jacob Garlock, is incredibly disingenuous and wholly insincere,” he responded in writing. “While Mr. Garlock’s conviction may be unrelated to his work as an Oberlin school teacher, the investigation which led to his conviction began with my clients reporting abuse of their child at the hands of Mr. Garlock at Eastwood Elementary School during school hours.”
Kuboff said the district is failing the students and families it serves by ignoring the creation of the investigation and allowing parents to talk with their children at home about the situation because they may have been “victimized by Mr. Garlock but are too afraid or too embarrassed to speak up.”
Hall said the district did not make the investigation public because it had limited information, educators did not want take any action that would have interfered with the investigation, and officials took immediate action to bar Garlock from any educational setting or further contact with students.
“We understand the community’s desire for more communication and information,” he said. “Please be assured we hold the safety of all of our students as top priority.”
The superintendent said if additional information surfaces that would have an impact on the district he will let parents know about it.
In the meantime, Deborah said Eva has been going to counseling to try and help her overcome her fear of adults that stems from her encounters with Garlock.
“She has had a few issues with trusting people,” she said. “Anyone that’s a male figures she has an issue with.”
Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @ValUrbanik on Twitter.