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The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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A former athletic trainer at Clay High School was arraigned in Oregon Municipal Court for allegedly having sexual relations with two underage male students in the last 18 months.

Melinda Rober, 35, was arraigned on Monday, April 22, and charged with two counts of sexual battery.

Rober, who waived her right to a preliminary examination, will be bound over to the Lucas County Common Pleas Court for a grand jury hearing. She was ordered to not have contact with the students.

Oregon School Board President P.J. Kapfhammer said the district took immediate action when the first alleged victim came forward last week.

“I was first approached last week about this,” Kapfhammer said. “The young man was just talking about a lot of things and he mentioned the trainer’s name a few times in the conversation without saying a whole lot. I just felt something was not right.”

Kapfhammer said he spoke to the student’s father and asked him to find out if something had happened.

“Within a half an hour, the young man was back, asking if he was in trouble,” Kapfhammer said. “I told him he was not in trouble, that he was a victim.”

Kapfhammer said he notified the administration and the Oregon Police Department immediately.

“The kid came to me. I did the right thing,” he said. “I went to the police with him because he trusted me. I made sure he knew he was a victim and not in trouble. He is a good kid and I just wanted him to know that this was not his fault.”

A second alleged victim has also come forward, according to Kapfhammer. He said he has spoken to four to five more students who have “asked for help.”

“From my understanding, this has been going on at least two years, but probably longer than that,” Kapfhammer said. “I have known these kids since they were little. I met with the second victim as well. He was scared his mom and dad would be upset. He was scared to tell them. I came to his home that night and told his parents for him. It was a very tough evening.”

Kapfhammer said there had been rumors concerning Rober for some time.

“But there was nothing even close to this,” he said. “It looks like a lot of boys knew. Some of the victims did not tell anyone, period. We are just beginning to understand some of the things that went on. We immediately made sure the kids were safe and taken care of. I just feel horrible. As a district, we want to protect the kids and somewhere along the line we did not. These are big, strong young men, but, when they were telling the police what happened, there were tears welling up in their eyes. This has just been horrible.”

Rober turned herself into police on Friday, April 19. Her attorney, Steve Hartman, said his client is cooperating.

“She fully cooperated in the investigation, and will continue to do so,” Hartman said.

Oregon Detective Sergeant Kelly Thibert said additional victims have not come forward.

“The investigation is still on-going,” Thibert said.

Rober served as Clay’s athletic trainer for 10 years. She was employed by ProMedica.

Tedra J. White, ProMedica’s director of media relations and public affairs, said Rober is no longer an employee.

“We are cooperating fully with local authorities,” White said. “Our athletic training program has an outstanding history and reputation and we in no way were aware of or condone any inappropriate behavior."