School board asks parents to trust courts after board member arrested | Crime
A charter school in York County held a town hall meeting Wednesday night after a member of the school's board was arrested and charged with having child porn.
52-year-old Timothy Frank Ruzbacki is facing ten counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Child.
School board members at the meeting acknowledged that the charges and arrest are troubling but cautioned parents not to convict Ruzbacki until all the evidence is presented in court.
Ruzbacki was the Academic Committee Chair for the York Preparatory Academy's Board of Directors and is the husband of a teacher at the school.
According to the York County Sheriff's Office, Ruzbacki was released from prison on Wednesday morning, just after midnight, after he posted a $50,000 bond.
His neighbors are stunned and are unsure how to treat him.
"We all make mistakes," Neighbor Roger Lashombe said. "But what do you do after you make the mistake, we have no idea how it's going to be."
Investigators obtained search warrants against Ruzbacki after receiving information from another agency suspecting Ruzbacki was in the possession of child pornography, deputies told WBTV.
"They followed an IP address from that agency to somewhere in North Carolina," York County Sheriff's Office PIO Trent Faris said. "North Carolina called us to say 'Hey, this IP goes to a Comporium address' and they tracked that back to Ruzbacki."
After further investigation, detectives discovered Ruzbacki was in the possession of images of children as young as 4 months old engaging in sexual acts on his computer.
"Oh My God," Neighbor Chris Johnson said. "That's sick, that's sick - that's what he had on his computer."
The former school board member was arrested at his home on Monday without incident and charged with ten counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Child.
"We regret having to post this information but yesterday we learned from news media reports that Tim Ruzbacki, member of our school's board of directors, was arrested by the York County Sheriff's Office," the YPA Board of Directors said in a letter to parents on Wednesday morning. "Like you, we were caught off guard by this incident. We have no information regarding the details of Mr. Ruzbacki's arrest and were previously unaware of any police investigation or activities."
Right now there is no word on how long investigators have been tracking the school board member or if any of the students at York Preparatory Academy had an inappropriate encounter with Ruzbacki.
"That's part of the investigation," Faris said. "We just know we found children on his computer involved in sexual acts."
According to the letter from the YPA Board of Directors, Ruzbacki joined our board nearly two years ago as a parent-elected volunteer. The board says a background investigation was conducted before he was approved.
"Upon hearing of his arrest yesterday, the board took immediate action and suspended Mr. Ruzbacki from the board," the board's statement said. "We share this information with you in order to keep you informed and aware of our plans. These matters are unfortunate. However, our commitment to finding a strong leader and relocating to a new facility has not waned and will not be impacted."
According to his profile on the York Preparatory Academy's website, Ruzbacki has "three grown children all in college and graduate school, and two daughters here at YPA."
"There are not many areas in life more rewarding than watching our children grow through their education and life experiences," he says on his profile. "To that end, the most important contribution I can make to their growth is to actively use my talents and experience to maintain and improve their academic and social environments."
WBTV has learned that Ruzbacki's daughters participate in the Girl Scouts of America and Ruzbacki was registered as a participating parent with his daughter's troop.
Girl Scout leaders say he is now prohibited from participating in, or being at, the meetings pending the outcome of the investigation.
Neighbors who live near the school are shocked.
"They are supposed to be a leader of the school," neighbor Tim Allen told WBTV. "And that is very unacceptable."
Many people agreed with the board's decision to remove Ruzbacki from office.
"I don't feel that he should be in that position," neighbor Randal Taylor said. "He should be fired immediately and until it goes to court. If he is proven innocent, fine - let the gentleman have his job back."
The South Carolina Attorney General's office, The South Carolina Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, North Carolina Bureau of Investigations and the Rock Hill Police Department assisted the York County Sheriff's Office on the investigation of Ruzbacki.
The South Carolina Attorney General's Office is expected to release more information about this case.
Copyright 2012 WBTV. All rights reserved.
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