A Highland High School teacher was arrested Thursday on accusations he tried to molest a colleague’s young daughter three years ago, Gilbert police said.
Robert Oldfield, 59, was arrested on suspicion of attempted molestation of a child, Sgt. Jeff Esslinger said.
The girl’s mother went to police after her daughter, now 10, told her about the incident, which she said occurred just before spring break in 2000, Esslinger said.
"When Robert Oldfield was confronted with the allegation of the incident from three years prior, he admitted his participation," Esslinger said.
Oldfield has taught earth science and college geology at the school since August 1999, said Dianne Bowers, spokeswoman for the Gilbert Unified School District.
The district sent a letter home to parents.
"As the police said, usually when this happens there may be others, and that’s why we’re asking parents and our students if there’s something out there that we haven’t heard," said Ken James, Highland principal.
The Arizona Department of Education, which can revoke Oldfield’s four education certifications, has been investigating the charges since Aug. 13, said spokesman Doug Nick.
Oldfield was not immediately placed on leave because police asked the district to avoid alerting him, Bowers said. Oldfield taught during the first five days of school before leaving for a conference Thursday.
"I am confident no students were in jeopardy," James said.
The district dealt with two unrelated sexual misconduct cases last year.
Social studies teacher Elliot Charles Clark was charged in June with two counts of sexual misconduct with a Mesquite High School student.
The case is pending in Maricopa County Superior Court.
Highland Junior High School science teacher Ken Carling was fired by the district, but no charges were filed agai nst him, after he exchanged e-mails with a student the district called "inappropriate."