NEW PALESTINE, Ind. – A short investigation that began earlier this month has ended with the firing of a former instructional assistant in New Palestine.
Justin McCaw, 42, faces three felony charges after inappropriate behavior with a student.
Court records from Hancock County show the investigation started back on Friday, February 8. The student said McCaw approached her in a school hallway and said he wanted to talk about “us.”
The court documents said police, including the school’s resource officer, have viewed video surveillance of the interaction. After the conversation, which the video does not have what was said, the victim “had a surprised look on her face.”
McCaw would approach the victim later that day, this time in the school parking lot.
The victim said that’s where the man solicited her for sex. She told police she declined, drove home, and told her parents what happened.
When school resumed on Monday, police were told what happened and the investigation began.
“Kudos to this girl for speaking up right then,” said Jovanna Hinkle, a mother of two students. “While nothing happened, it obviously could have had she been a willing participant and instead, she wasn’t fearful to speak up, to talk to the right people or someone at the school and great job to the school for doing something and not taking it lightly.”
Investigators have also seen video of the parking lot incident. They said traffic was flowing smoothly and were not stopped, contrary to what McCaw told them.
Police have searched both the victim’s phone and McCaw’s phone. The South Hancock County Schools employee had used Google Maps to search for the victim’s address the week of the incidents.
McCaw made his initial court appearance Thursday in Hancock County Circuit Court. He faces three charges, including one of child seduction and stalking. He has also been ordered to stay away from school property and the victim. His trial is set for July.
Hinkle said the victim’s parents should be applauded for raising their daughter to speak up when something bad happens to her.
“The fact that she spoke up speaks volumes for her parents for teaching her not to stay quiet,” she said.
The school district released the following statement regarding the incident:
Justin McCaw was terminated from his instructional aide position by the Community School Corporation of Southern Hancock County following receipt of information from law enforcement on a substantiated incident of inappropriate behavior in violation of school board policy.
Because the safety and wellbeing of all students is our number one priority, a No Trespass Order was issued in addition to his termination.
The district will continue to fully cooperate with law enforcement as they continue with their procedures. The district is not at liberty to discuss any additional details regarding this matter. Any questions should be directed to the New Palestine Police Department.