‘It was gut-wrenching’: Mom claims school hid teacher’s alleged child sex crime from parents

Chesterfield County

A Chesterfield elementary teacher arrested for an alleged incident in May involving a child appeared in court.

Richard F. O’Brien, a 51-year-old from Midlothian, was charged with using “a communications system to facilitate certain offenses involving children,” according to the King and Queen Sheriff’s Office. O’Brien is listed as a 5th-grade teacher at Reams Elementary School in Chesterfield.

His bond was set at $5,000.

“Child sexual abuse thrives in secrecy,” said Ashley Cimburke, a Reams Elementary parent. “Predators depend on secrecy, and Chesterfield County really focusing on secrecy just didn’t sit well with me.

“It was gut-wrenching.”

Cimburke wanted to know why her daughter’s beloved teacher wasn’t ever coming back to class.

“The school board told us the same thing. That it’s a personnel matter and that parents are not going to be notified.”

What they found out, hit home.

“I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse so that’s why it’s something so prevalent in my mind and as a mom.”

She says the school system should have told parents that a teacher is accused of a sex crime involving a child under 15.

“These kids needed somebody to talk to. They needed to be able to express if something happened to them. If parents weren’t made aware, then how can we address our children.”

King and Queen County Sheriff’s Office won’t release the details of what O’Brien allegedly did.

“This has been a real big shock. Not to these parents but to these kids.”

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