WEST VALLEY CITY — A popular third-grade teacher at a West Valley charter school was arrested Monday for investigation of aggravated sexual abuse of a child.
Kyle Hill, 32, of Provo, was also arrested for investigation of 10 counts of sexual exploitation of a child for taking “illegal pictures” of his young victim, according to a statement from West Valley police.
Hill would pull the student aside during recess and take inappropriate pictures of the boy, according to police, and on at least one occasion went to the boy’s house.
The investigation began Sunday when the parents of a 9-year-old boy who attends Endeavor Hall, 2614 Decker Lake Lane, contacted police. The boy told detectives that Hill would take him “aside from the rest of class and (ask the boy) to show him his underwear,” according to a Salt Lake County Jail report.
Hill then “began sending daily written notes to (the boy), including requests to see (him) naked and record him in various poses,” the report states.
The boy said Hill would also pull him aside during recess.
“This was believed to have occurred between the months of September and December of 2017,” the report states.
Police believe the boy was sexually assaulted in November. Hill continued to write notes and take inappropriate pictures in January, according to the report. The notes mostly consisted of yes and no questions.
“(The boy) said that Mr. Hill would also offer him candy or ‘extra class money’ if (the boy) would mark yes to Mr. Hill’s requests,” the report states.
“This teacher would give rewards to this particular student,” added West Valley Police Lt. Kent Stokes. “The class has a currency they give to their children and he had the highest denominations, or the highest amounts in the class, as well as candy. He had little erasers and things like that.”
On April 21, Hill went to the boy’s house allegedly to watch a movie, but ended up talking about the sex scenes of rated-R movies, police wrote. The boy’s parents were home at the time, Stokes said. He did not know how often Hill went to the boy’s house, but he said it was finally the parents who asked their son what was going on.
“They were obviously suspicious of some kind of activity and that’s what made them talk to their son,” Stokes said.
On Monday, “detectives made contact with Mr. Hill and processed his classroom for evidence. During the course of this investigation, detectives gathered information that Mr. Hill had touched the child inappropriately,” police said in a statement Tuesday.
“The reasoning provided by Mr. Hill for taking the photographs of (the boy) was for sexual gratification,” the report states.
Photographs of the boy in compromising positions were seized, Stokes said. A search warrant was also served on Stokes’ home, where electronic devices were confiscated as potential evidence.
Investigators are now concerned there could be other victims. Anyone with additional information about Hill is asked to contact police at 801-840-4000. As of Tuesday, Stokes said, “there’s nothing currently to indicate that (there are more victims).”
Hill has been at Endeavor Hall for three years and was a student teacher at Timpanogos Elementary School in Provo. On its website, Endeavor Hall touts itself as a “K-8 public charter school emphasizing writing.”
When asked if red flags were missed, such as pulling the boy aside during recess, Stokes said he’s not sure.
“It’s hard to speak to the red flags because it’s easy to say after the fact, ‘What about this? What about that?’ From our investigation, (he was) one of the best teachers in the school. Did a great job teaching his kids and working with the faculty. So, on all accounts, it’s hard to say after the fact ‘red flag,'” he said.
Endeavor director Simon Raubenheimer said there were no red flags.
“Hindsight is always a wonderful thing to have,” he said Tuesday. “There were no red flags, no reason for concern, no reason to suspect anything. I was as floored yesterday as everybody else.”
Raubenheimer said Hill was fired immediately and a message went out to parents who have children in his classroom that he would no longer be teaching. After his arrest was made public, a second note went to all parents of the school to make them aware of the situation and to encourage anyone who had additional information to step forward.
“We’ve been as very open as we can be. We’re not shying away from this,” Raubenheimer said.