Teacher accused of sex crimes against student

Man also coached basketball team



A $60,000 bond was set Friday for a St. Martin teacher accused of engaging in sex acts with a minor girl who attends the school, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd said.

Robert Griffin, 39, of Ocean Springs, was arrested Thursday and charged with one count of molestation of a child under the age of 16. On Friday, sheriff’s investigators charged Griffin with an additional count of sexual battery for allegedly having sexual relations with the student.

Griffin, who in the last year also coached a St. Martin girls basketball team, has pleaded not guilty.

Sheriff’s deputies launched the investigation after receiving a report from a parent about Griffin’s alleged illegal conduct with a minor.

“Mr. Griffin was in a position of public trust, and that makes this even worse,” Byrd said.

“It looks bad for everybody. We’ve got a lot of great teachers. We have a lot of great educators. When you have one bad apple, it makes everybody look bad.”

Barry Amacker, superintendent of the Jackson County School District, said Griffin is now on administrative leave with pay pending the outcome of an internal investigation. In addition, he said, Griffin will no longer serve as a coach.

Griffin joined the school district in 2002 and taught physical education and health. Over the years, Amacker said, Griffin also served as a football coach.

Griffin lives in the 2800 block of Belmont Drive in Ocean Springs.

If convicted of all the charges, Griffin could go to prison for up to 35 years.

By MARGARET BAKER – mbbaker@sunherald.com

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