A paraeducator/assistant varsity boys basketball coach at Riverside-Brookfield High School has been charged with one count of unlawful dissemination of harmful material, a Class A misdemeanor, after he allegedly sent multiple videos of male genitalia to a 17-year-old Riverside girl over a period of months.
Police said there is no evidence there was any physical contact between the student and the offender, identified as Anthony Roberts, 30, of Chicago. However, Riverside Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said that the videos were sent to multiple people via the social media app SnapChat and that more victims may come forward as a result of the arrest, which took place at the school on Feb. 14. Classes were not in session at the time, because it was a teachers’ institute day.
RBHS Superintendent Kevin Skinkis told the Landmark that Roberts had been employed as a teacher’s aidefor two years and was an assistant basketball coach for three years. After Roberts was taken into custody, Skinkis sent a message to parents announcing that a staff member had been taken into custody and had been placed on administrative leave from his job at the school.
“Safety and security for the students and staff is our top priority, and we will continue to work with the Riverside Police Department accordingly,” Skinkis wrote to parents.
Asked about any further disciplinary action against Roberts, Skinkis said school officials will conduct their own investigation in coordination with Riverside police.
If there are other complaints, it is possible the Cook County State’s Attorney could pursue felony charges against Roberts. The victim is a Riverside-Brookfield High School student, but it remains unclear at this time how or if the Roberts and the victim know each other.
The victim and her mother first approached Riverside police on Dec. 30, 2019, about the videos. Detectives were able to obtain a search warrant for the offender’s SnapChat account from a Cook County Circuit Court judge. That warrant was served to SnapChat at their Santa Monica, California, offices.
Within the past week, said Weitzel, SnapChat complied with the warrant, providing investigators with direct evidence that the account from which the videos were sent belonged to Roberts, who has no prior criminal history, according to police.
Police are asking anyone who may have information or who may have been sent similar videos and images to contact Detective Sgt. Leo Kotor or Detective James Lazansky at 708-447-2127.