A Sumner County grand jury has indicted a Shafer Middle School teacher on charges of aggravated sexual battery and assault.
Robert Ring, 49, was arrested and charged June 7 with two counts each of aggravated sexual battery and assault, following an investigation by the Sumner County Sheriff’s Office.
The investigation started on May 17 – the same day the school district suspended Ring without pay amid allegations that the sixth-grade teacher had inappropriate physical contact with more than one student.
On June 3, General Sessions Court Judge Mike Carter granted orders of protection to the parents of five male students who alleged they were either stalked or sexually assaulted by Ring in April and May of this year.
Ring, who did not contest the petitions, was ordered to have no contact with each petitioner and to stay away from the students’ homes and workplaces, if applicable. He was also ordered to stay away from public places the students are known to frequent like the Gallatin Skate Park.
Ring is charged with aggravated sexual battery, a Class B felony, for incidents that occurred on May 15 and May 16, according to the indictment issued Sept. 5.
In the May 15 incident, the teacher is alleged to have approached a 12-year-old student from behind while the student was standing at a locker that was jammed. School surveillance shows Ring approaching the student from behind, according to an arrest affidavit. When Ring approaches to help the student with his locker, his fontal area makes contact with the student’s backside.
In the May 16 incident, Ring is alleged to have used his hand to force the head of a student less than 13 years of age to touch the teacher’s groin area.
Ring is also charged with assault, a Class B misdemeanor, for allegedly rubbing a student’s thigh “within the last few weeks of school,” and for also inappropriately touching another student while in class on May 16.
The teacher has remained free on a $25,000 bond since his arrest.
He waived his right to a preliminary hearing in Judge Carter’s court on Aug. 21. Also on Aug. 21, Carter denied a motion filed by Ring’s attorney, John Pellegrin, asking that the teacher be allowed to attend his daughter’s soccer games with his wife. Ring is prohibited from being around any children as a condition of his bond, according to the motion.
Ring, a tenured teacher who has been with Sumner County Schools since 2007, remains suspended without pay pending the outcome of the criminal charges, according to Sumner County Schools Spokesperson Jeremy Johnson. An interim teacher is currently filling in for the social studies teacher, Johnson added.
Ring is scheduled to appear next in Sumner County Criminal Court for an arraignment on Sept. 20.