LONGVIEW,TX (KLTV)- New details about the former Longview ISD teacher arrested early Thursday morning for sexual assault and indecency with a child.
In addition to his position as a science teacher, 54-year-old Robert Craig Varnell was also a UIL coordinator, a job that put him in contact with thousands of students from all over east Texas. According to the Longview arrest warrant affidavit, Robert Varnell had several encounters with a juvenile boy over nearly a four year period dating back to 2007, when Varnell was still on faculty at Letourneau University. May 7th the victim reported it to police.
"I was pretty shocked as I'm sure most people were, where are our checks and balances for people that are supposed to be in a position to be with children," said Pat Goldston, the grandmother of LISD children.
"He was able to go to all campuses he had reason to go to all campuses at one point or another, the district is investigating, as a parent myself of two school age children in this district I can understand the concerns that parents would have," says LISD Public Information Officer Adam Holland.
In the affidavit Varnell is said to have sent e-mails to the victim saying, "I can see that you aren't going to talk to me, I just want you to know how sorry I am. I didn't know things were this bad", and another, "Please talk to me just a sec."
With 8,500 kids in the district, some wonder if any others were victims.
"It certainly does make me worry, it makes me very worried," Goldston says.
"I feel that they have stolen something from these children that can never be replaced," says Longview resident Donna LaRocque.
Letourneau University responded today in a statement saying, "We are deeply dismayed by these allegations, our concern is for the families involved we've not been contacted by any authorities, for we feel it would be inappropriate to comment."
Varnell was moved by officers from the Upshur County Jail to the Gregg County Jail Friday morning, where he remains. Officials in Upshur and Gregg counties say they are also investigating to see if there are any other victims in their counties.
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