Editor’s note: Some may find the details of this story disturbing.
HAZELWOOD, Mo. – A Ferguson-Florissant School District employee has been placed on leave for alleged misconduct, according to school officials. The alleged misconduct occurred in the Hazelwood School District in 2015.
On Tuesday evening, the district became aware of allegations against a staff member, who has been identified as Deonte Taylor. Taylor was immediately contacted and told not to report to school and go to human resource services on Wednesday morning.
According to a spokesperson, by Wednesday evening, the Ferguson-Florissant School District alerted parents. Thursday morning, the district sent a message by email and phone to all Walnut Grove parents.
‘We do not have any reason to believe that any of our students at Walnut Grove have been affected; however, out of an abundance of caution we are contacting parents of students in the staff member’s class and asking them to report any concerns to the Children’s Advocacy Center.
Ferguson-Florissant School District always conducts background checks during the hiring process. This employee’s criminal and child abuse/neglect background check came back clear with no indication of prior criminal history. The district would not knowingly hire a potential employee who had a record of or had committed crimes against children.’
Despite on open investigation into the abuse claims, Taylor was actually able to get his elementary education certificate and secure a teaching position at Walnut Grove elementary school in the Ferguson-Florissant district.
The Missouri State Board of Education told 5 On Your Side Taylor wasn't flagged in their system until his arrest Wednesday, so there was no way other school districts would've known about the 2015 abuse investigation.
Charges were filed on Nov. 28 against Taylor.
According to the Florissant Police Department, they investigated this case in 2015 and the case remained open and ongoing. Due to new revelations with this case investigators were able to make an arrest.
According to the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the victim reported this right away and the case was being investigated by a Florissant detective who left the department before the investigation was completed. A spokesperson told 5 On Your Side, apparently no one finished the investigation until recently when the victim reported the incident again.
According to a probable cause statement, in November 2015, Taylor took a 7-year-old boy out of class and into another room where the boy performed oral sex on Taylor. He’s facing three charges of first-degree statutory sodomy.
The incident occurred while Taylor was a teacher’s assistant at Lusher Elementary School.
Statement from the Hazelwood School District
As soon as the allegations regarding Deonte Taylor were made in November 2015, the Hazelwood School District turned the matter over to the Missouri State Children's Division (DFS) and the local police.
As a precaution, the District also immediately placed Taylor on leave pending the outcome of the investigation. While waiting on the findings from the authorities, the District terminated Taylor’s employment for reasons unrelated to this case while he was on leave. Taylor never returned to the school after the allegations. Although the District reported the allegations to DFS as required, the District received a notification from social services that the report was unsubstantiated. No further information was provided by the police.
Recently, the student victim provided additional information and the matter was once again reported by the District to DFS.