Parents concerned after former Maclay School faculty member arrested for sexual abuse

Maclay School
Posted at 9:45 PM, Jul 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-18 18:25:07-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - Some Tallahassee parents are on edge after a man who works with local children is arrested for sexual abuse.

The Leon County Sheriff's Office arrested 41-year-old Roshad Thomas on six counts of sex offense against a child. 

Thomas has been working with kids in the Tallahassee area for more than a decade. According to his LinkedIn page, he was a Youth Pastor at Cavalry Chapel for more than 13 years.

He's also worked at Maclay School. A statement from Kimberly McWilliams, Maclay School's Director of Communication, reads: "Earlier today, it was brought to our attention that Roshad Thomas, a former member of the Maclay School faculty, who taught Life Management in the Upper School during the 2016-2017 school year, was arrested for alleged sexual misconduct committed prior to 2015. Mr. Thomas also worked with several of our sports teams and Middle School Life Management classes. After speaking with the authorities, the allegations do not involve any students from Maclay."

Last week, a victim told Leon County Sheriff's deputies Thomas fondled him about 10 years ago, when the victim was 13 years old.

"He came in July the 11th and once we had that initial interview, we were able to determine there were other victims out there," said Lt. Grady Jordan of the Leon Co. Sheriff's Office. "Over the course of the next several days, we made contact with them and their stories and their accounts of the incidents were very concerning to us."

Deputies say four other victims described sexual encounters with Thomas from 2007-2014.

Despite assurances there were no victims from Maclay School, parents are still concerned. One father tells WTXL he had concerns about Thomas's program at Maclay from the beginning, saying it seemed to have religious connotations, even though Maclay isn't a religious school. His son still attends Maclay, but the family is now considering switching to a public school.

Local attorney Mutaqee Akbar says even though these victims are coming forward years later, Florida's statute of limitations doesn't start until the day the original crime is reported.

"The purpose is for the people who are juveniles, if something happened to them as a child, they can come back and report it as an adult," said Akbar.

Akbar said the fact that more than one victim has come forward could help the original victim's case against Thomas.

"When you have an adult that comes back and that can relive things that they experienced as a child and actually want to go through that, that's pretty powerful stuff sometimes in front of a jury," said Akbar.

Just a few days ago, Thomas made a public post on his Facebook page saying this was supposed to be his last week living in Tallahassee, because he accepted a job as the Vice President of Student Programs for a nonprofit in Fort Lauderdale.

Thomas will make a court appearance in Leon County on Thursday, July 20th at 8:30 a.m.

Investigators say they're still looking for other victims who may not have come forward yet. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Leon County Sheriff's Office.