Jackson Co. school employees charged with sex crimes against kids

   

Robert Griffin
 Robert Griffin
Mark Bowie (Photo source: Jackson Co. Sheriff's Dept.)
Mark Bowie
 (Photo source: Jackson Co. Sheriff’s Dept.)

JACKSON COUNTY, MS

A Jackson County teacher and school computer technician are behind bars, each accused of separate crimes against children. 

St. Martin High health and physical education teacher Robert Griffin, 39, is charged with child molestation and sexual battery. Computer tech Mark Bowie, 41, is charged with 50 counts of possessing child pornography images on a computer. 

Griffin and Bowie hid their faces from cameras Friday as they entered the courtroom for their initial appearance. Sheriff’s deputies arrested both men Thursday in separate investigations of sex crimes against children. 

“When we got knowledge of both incidents, automatically, this criminal investigation division pulled together, pushed forward,” Investigator Hope Thornton said. 

Griffin, a husband, father and long time teacher is accused of having a sexual relationship with one of the female students enrolled in his health class. Thornton said a month long investigation revealed that the 39-year-old teacher and the teen had sex on at least two occasions. 

“The incidents occurred on Lemoyne Boulevard at the public library, at the parking lot. The second was on Highway 15, right before you get to the Harrison County line,” Thornton said. 

The investigation began after deputies received a tip from another high school student. 

“We had gotten a report from a fellow student that Mr. Griffin had made statements, inappropriate statements to her,” Thornton said.

One of Griffin’s fellow school district employees, Mark Bowie, faces 50 counts of possessing pornographic images of children. Investigators said Bowie’s wife called them after she found porn videos and pictures of different children on his computer. 

“I would say under the age 16 to probably four-months-old,” Thornton said about the images. “It’s heartbreaking to actually have to view some of these things and to know these children are victims.” 

During their initial appearances, Judge T. Larry Wilson ordered Griffin to stay away from the St. Martin student he’s accused of having sex with. Bowie was ordered to not use or obtain any computer software.  Griffin’s bond was set at $60,000. Bowie’s bond is $500,000. 

Jackson County School Superintendent Dr. Barry Amacker told WLOX that both Griffin and Bowie have been placed on administrative leave pending the school district’s investigation. 

By Patrice Clark

WLOX- ch 13

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