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Assaulted teacher gets answers, national attention after I-Team 8 investigation

I-Team 8 gets answers for assaulted teacher

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A 75-year-old teacher who says he was assaulted by a student earlier this month has received answers from the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office about its investigation after reporting by I-Team 8.

After a report aired Tuesday, the Perry Meridian High School substitute teacher, Rob Gooding, told I-Team 8 that the prosecutor’s office called him and said the student and his parents will meet with a prosecutor next week as part of its investigation.

Does he feel close to justice? “Yes. I hope,” Gooding said.

According to Gooding, the teenager will face consequences if he and his family don’t show up to the meeting next week with the prosecutor’s office. “If they don’t show up, boom, they’re going to automatically issue a warrant for his arrest.”

The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office would not speak to I-Team 8 directly about the investigation, but said that when juveniles are not immediately taken into custody for a crime, their investigations work like this:

  • First, law enforcement investigates. They then hand it over to the prosecutor’s office.
  • The Marion County court system’s juvenile probation department works to gather more information about the accused juveniles’ personal history.
  • Once that information gathering and the prosecutor’s office investigation are done, a decision is made whether to charge the juveniles.

I-Team 8 asked Gooding what he would consider appropriate punishment. “I’m not in that position. I don’t know, but he should be held accountable,” he answered.

Gooding agreed that he wants the juvenile to face consequences at his young age to help prevent him from getting in trouble in the future.

Since WISH-TV’s story aired, Gooding says, he’s received a lot of messages of support from the community, including a text message from a former student. “He messaged me and said, ‘Mr. Gooding, I’m sorry this happened and if you need anything let me know.’”

“It made me feel good,” Gooding said.

His story has been getting national attention. The nonprofit Uvalde Foundation For Kids, which was founded after the school shooting in Texas in 2022, says it’s reviewing Gooding’s case and will seek answers and accountability from the Perry Township school district in Indianapolis where Gooding worked.