A history teacher who “was loved by all” at his middle school in Alabama is accused of having sex with a female student in his classroom during school hours.
John Daniel Hamilton, 51, faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on the charges — which include second-degree sodomy and school employee engaging in a sexual act with a student — after he was arrested Tuesday, WKRG reported.
Baldwin County District Attorney Bob Wilters told reporters during a news conference that another student at Central Baldwin Middle School in Robertsdale reported the alleged sexual relationship between Hamilton and a female student at the school.
Investigators, after a two-week probe, learned that Hamilton and the victim — who was not identified due to her age — engaged in several sex acts in Hamilton’s classroom during school hours. Hamilton may have interacted with the girl outside of school grounds, but investigators believe the alleged sexual activity only took place inside the school.
Hamilton, according to the station, was a well-liked and popular figure at the school known in the hallways as “Danny.” He also worked as a bus driver for the school district, where he has been employed since 2000. He was placed on administrative leave on Feb. 5, but as of midday Wednesday, his name was still included in the school’s online teaching directory.
Baldwin County Superintendent Eddie Tyler told WALA that Hamilton’s keys and computer had been seized and said in a statement to the station that the district has “zero tolerance” for employees who prey on students.
“I am just at a loss how anyone, anyone can harm a child,” Tyler said in a statement. “All of the things we see on the national and local news make me ask, where is our moral compass?”
All district employees must undergo a background check prior to employment, but the measure is no indicator of “future behavior,” Tyler said.
“Those who are convicted of these despicable crimes against students deserve swift and the harshest consequences possible under the law,” Tyler’s statement continued.
Prosecutors, meanwhile, said the investigation is ongoing and urged anyone with more information to contact police.
“Talk to your kids,” Assistant District Attorney Matt Simpson said. “Have conversations about it. Nobody wants to have conversations like this with your kids especially at this age, however, it is important.”
One “school source” told WKRG that they were stunned by Hamilton’s arrest.
“My heart aches that he had found himself in this situation,” the unidentified source said. “He was a favorite of the students. Loved by all. Everyone liked him. Always happy and smiling.”