Thursday, July 16, 2009

Superintendent Bruce Shelley Arrested for Rape of 5-year-old

A local school superintendent has been suspended with pay after his arrest for the alleged rape of a 5-year-old girl. Bruce Lynn Shelley of Pocola Public Schools turned himself into authorities Monday.

Bruce Shelley started as the new superintendent of Pocola Public Schools on July 1st but was suspended after only two weeks on the job. Shelley turned himself into the Okfuskee County Jail in Okemah, Oklahoma yesterday and was released on $25,000 bond. He has an Okemah address.

Court papers charge Shelley with rape by instrumentation in the first degree. He's accused of sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl. The victim's mother told police her husband, the child's father, found the little girl engaged in an inappropriate act with her younger brother. When they asked her why, she replied that the same thing had been done to her by Shelley. The little girl also accused him of touching her private parts at bath time.

The victim's mother told an investigator on May 11th that her daughter had made a previous allegation against Shelley in October of 2007.

Last night the Pocola School Board, in Pocola, Oklahoma, voted to suspend Shelley with pay, saying only that it was in the best interest of the children to relieve him of his duties. He was ordered to turn in his keys and all school property. Members chose Randy Ragland to temporarily take over the position.

The school's attorney, Bryan Drummond, said this is a personnel matter, and all he could say is that the board will have to decide at some point whether to put Shelley back to work or take further employment action. We contacted the office of who we believe to be Bruce Shelley's attorney, but our call was not returned.

Interim superintendent Randy Ragland told us Tuesday that the safety of students is the school district's priority.
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