Former Thompsonville, Ill. principal arrested on grooming charges

Principal arrested for child grooming

WEST FRANKFORT, Ill. (KFVS) - A West Frankfort, Illinois man was arrested on grooming charges on Tuesday, May 21.

According to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, John Robinson, 55, was arrested and charged with one count of Grooming, a class 4 felony.

Detectives also obtained a search warrant for Robinson’s home.

Thompsonville School District Superintendent Brock Harris confirmed that Robinson was the principal of the district.

“John’s worked here a long time. As to my knowledge, you know, he comes to work every day, does a good job,” Harris said. "Shocked that all of this is going on to be honest with you, you know? I’ve never witnessed anything inappropriate with him”

Harris said Robinson’s respect went passed the walls of the school and throughout the entire surrounding community.

That’s a common characteristic of people accused of grooming according to Emery Johnson-Miles, an advocate for rape and sexual assault victims for the Women’s Center.

“Whoever the perpetrator is will be a very charming person,” Johnson-Miles said. “So that way you’re like, ‘Bob?! He couldn’t do that, he’s such a nice guy!’”

She said the best way to prevent grooming incidents from happening is to be open with your children and listen to them when they talk, because if you make them feel like they’re lying, they may never tell you the truth.

When it comes to what to look out for, she said the signs can be hard to spot, but they are there.

“If you get a weird vibe, or even if you’re like, ‘this person is really nice, like unusually nice,’ that’s usually a bad sign,” she said.

Harris said Robinson was placed on administrative leave on Friday, May 17. Robinson later resigned on Monday, May 20 according to Brock.

Robinson is being held in the Franklin County Jail on a $20,000 bond.

The investigation is ongoing.

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