CINCINNATI (FOX19) - A former employee with the Princeton City School District turned himself in Thursday on 12 counts of gross sexual imposition.
Lamont Baldwin “purposely had sexual contact with a person who was not his spouse at the time, and was less than thirteen years of age” between 2014 and 2018, according to a copy of his indictment.
If convicted on all charges, Baldwin faces the possibility of over 50 years in prison.
He pleaded not guilty and his bond was set at $500,000 in a brief video arraignment Friday morning.
Baldwin, 55, was employed as a security monitor for the Princeton School District and assigned to the middle and high school from April 15, 1996, until his termination on Nov. 18, 2019.
As a security monitor, his responsibilities included monitoring the hallways, cafeteria and arrival and dismissal of students. He would also be expected to assist with other student matters, such as breaking up fights, if needed.
Baldwin also served as a middle school wrestling coach for a short period of time, said Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters.
“We are very concerned there are other victims. And when his mug shot is finally published by the sheriff’s office, I would hope that this station and others would show his picture. Because that sometimes jars people’s memory. And this could be the tip of the iceberg. We just don’t know," Deters told FOX19 NOW.
Baldwin is now charged with sexual assaults on four different male students that occurred both in the school and off school grounds, Deters said.
“He had a wrestling office where it happened sometimes. But you are dealing with little boys who are in 5th and 6th grade. I mean you are not dealing with sophisticated - even teenagers are pretty stupid sometimes. These are little kids. These are kids, three out of the four are under 13 years of age. And he was taking advantage of his position of power and sexually assaulting these little kids," Deters told FOX19 NOW.
The Sharonville Police Department began an investigation in October.
“These cases are disturbing and I will never understand people who sexually abuse children,” Deters said.
"Parents expect that school is a safe place and school employees betraying that trust hurt not just the victim but the entire family, school system and community. We take these cases seriously and want to make sure that dangerous people are not in contact with our children.”
Baldwin turned himself into Cincinnati police late Thursday night.
His lawyer, Clyde Bennett, says Baldwin has never been in trouble with the law, not even a traffic ticket, and that he plans to defend his innocence.
“I’m not convinced of the charge,” Bennett told FOX19 NOW. “Show me the evidence besides someone saying, ‘He touched me.’ Show me something. Show me the evidence. Show me the video.”
Bennett says the charges stem from one individual with whom Baldwin engaged in “horseplay.”
“That person made an allegation, and then Princeton City School District, along with law enforcement in Sharonville, opened the flood gates and asked everybody, ‘What do you know about this teacher?’” Bennett argued. “And lo and behold, somebody said, ‘Hey, he touched me in 2015.’ This is January 2020, and you have a person saying he touched me four or five years ago. That’s a very, very easy claim to make. It’s a very, very hard claim to defend yourself against. But we are going to do just that.”
Princeton City Schools Superintendent Tom Burton said Baldwin was immediately placed on administrative leave after students reported the incidents to school officials.
Burton sent a letter home to parents and guardians today:
"Earlier today, someone who was formerly a Princeton Community Middle School security monitor was criminally charged on counts of gross sexual imposition.
"Immediately upon learning about the allegations in October, Princeton administration placed the employee on administrative leave and contacted local law enforcement. At the November 18 board meeting, the Princeton Board of Education terminated the employment of this individual. Additionally, an investigation into the allegations was conducted by the City of Sharonville police.
"The well-being and safety of our students are top priorities of Princeton City Schools and under no circumstances do we condone or tolerate inappropriate conduct. To ensure our students are receiving mental health support, the district will continue to offer counseling and therapeutic services. We have been and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and legal authorities in the investigation.
“As always, I appreciate your support of the Princeton City School District and the trust you place in us. I will always act in the best interest of all of the children in our schools.”