Kingsport Times News Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Crime Local News

Former school janitor charged with sexually assaulting SW Va. juveniles

May 5th, 2014 3:19 pm by Wes Bunch

Former school janitor charged with sexually assaulting SW Va. juveniles

Bobby Gobble

LEBANON — A former janitor at a Southwest Virginia elementary school was indicted in Russell County Monday on over a hundred sexual assault-related charges that allegedly involve at least four children.

Bobby Joe Gobble, 41, of Lebanon, was handed down 150 true bill indictments — including 50 counts of carnal knowledge of a minor and multiple counts of aggravated sexual battery and forcible sodomy, among other charges — by a Russell County grand jury, the Russell County Commonwealth's Attorney's Office said.

The charges reportedly stem from multiple incidents involving at least four juveniles, all ages 14 and under, over a four-and-a-half year period.

Court documents show the earliest alleged incident occurring on Aug. 2, 2009. The most recent charges of taking indecent liberties with a minor are the result of an offense that allegedly took place Feb. 4, 2014.

The other alleged sexual offenses involving Gobble took place on Sept. 1, 2011; July 1, 2012 and Feb. 4, 2014, according to court records.

Russell County Commonwealth's Attorney Brian Patton said Gobble was employed as a janitor at Lebanon Elementary School for seven years until his arrest.

Gobble has been in custody in the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Abingdon since Feb. 12, 2014. He is being held without bond.

Patton declined to provide further information on the charges facing Gobble.

"No further details will be released at this time because the investigation remains ongoing," Patton said.

Authorities did not say if Gobble met the alleged victims while working as a school system employee.

A statement released Monday afternoon by Russell County Public Schools said officials there were assisting the investigation in any way possible.

"We are fully cooperating with law enforcement in each and every way requested," Russell County Public Schools Superintendent Brenda F. Hess wrote. "It is our understanding that Mr. Gobble is incarcerated and has been suspended from employment in Russell County by the Russell County School Board. This is a criminal investigation and while we are fully cooperating with law enforcement we are not at liberty to release additional information at this time."

Gobble is scheduled to appear June 26 in Russell County Circuit Court.

Patton said the case is being handled by jointly by the Russell County Sheriff's Office, Lebanon Police Department, and the Virginia State Police.

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