24 de julio de 2019

Teacher Arrested for Child Molestation In School / Meeting Planned for This Tuesday To Meet w/ Parents

 Hilton Head Island Elementary School (IB) Teacher Charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct

Hilton Head Island Elementary School (IB) Teacher Charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct

Hilton Head Island Elementary School (IB) Teacher Charged with Criminal Sexual Conduct

La Isla Magazine / Eric H. Esquivel – Hilton Head Island, SC (January 19, 2019)

Anthony Heiter, a Hilton Head Island Elementary School teacher turned himself in to law enforcement on Thursday morning on charges of third-degree criminal sexual conduct.  The alleged victim was a first grade student in the school.  Heiter was a first grade dual language Spanish immersion teacher that joined the school in 2015.

The alleged sexual assault occurred in October 2018 with a student that was in his class inside the elementary school.  When school officials were informed of the allegations Heiter was immediately placed on administrative leave by the school district while sheriff’s investigators conducted a full investigation.  On Thursday afternoon, Heiter was released on a $15,000 bond.

The school in conjunction with the school district has organized a parent meeting to address all concerns on Tuesday, January 22nd at 5:00 pm at Hilton Head Island Elementary (IB) School.  Local child advocacy groups CAPA and Hopeful Horizons representatives will be in attendance with Spanish translators to speak with parents.

Publishers Note: 

Sexual assault, especially toward children is more common than people sometimes want to believe.  Often times a sexual predator is someone with a close relationship with your child, including family members.  No parent ever wants to imagine or think that this scenario would ever happen to your own child, but the reality is that this happens more often than people know or want to admit.  I implore all parents in our community to use this situation to take the time to speak with your children about child abuse and to begin an open dialogue with them so that you have a “safe zone” for them to communicate back with you as parents. 

More importantly if you are a parent that had a child at Hilton Head Island Elementary IB School from 2015 through this year that was taught by Anthony Heiter in the Spanish Immersion first grade program or any after school clubs that he was responsible for, it is imperative that you take the time to speak with your child about possible child abuse.

Lastly, speaking directly to our Latino community; I want to highlight my cultural understandings of how our segment of the population’s children are more susceptible to child abuse than one may realize!  This reality occurs mainly in two ways:

  1. From within our own Latino community as new immigrants due to our culture having much larger family units made up of multiple generations living together in the same home.  At times it is not uncommon for there to be non-family members staying or renting from a family with children.  Also, due to our Latino communities’ high work ethic in an effort to improve their lives, many times we are forced to depend on others to watch ones children that would not always be the parent’s first choice.  
  2. From outside our Latino community it is common for predators look for people that they can take advantage more easily that will not speak up.  The victims are often immigrants and their family members whose first language is not English.  Due to the challenges immigrants face not only with language, but also with a lack of understanding of how our legal system works, a lack of trust with law enforcement, for fear of one’s citizenship status and how they or other family members may be affected if they report a crime.

Do not let any of the above scenarios ever prevent you from speaking to your children, reporting child abuse or any other type of crime.  No matter who you are, you and your family are protected by the US constitution and the laws that govern this great country.  If you or your children are a victim of any type of abuse, it is not enough to report the crime.  One must also seek help for the victims and their families so that everyone affected may have the best opportunity to heal and all can live their best lives.  By speaking up, reporting crimes and seeking counseling is how we can all stop a perpetual chain of abuse that commonly happens by predators.  You must be brave to break the chain of abuse and prevent those same predators from moving on to their next victims.     

In a letter sent to parents of all HHIE students, the school along with CAPA provided the below guidelines which may assist parents when speaking to their children about possible child abuse.  If parents do have these conversations with their children and would like to report something to law enforcement, they should contact the Beaufort County Sheriff’s office at 843-255-3200 and ask to speak with the officer in charge of this case, Detective Seth Reynolds.

Additional resources that will be at HHI Elementary School meeting on Tuesday, January 22nd at 5:00 pm.

CAPA:  Child Abuse Prevention Services


919 Bay St, Beaufort, SC 29902


Hopeful Horizons


1212 Charles St, Beaufort, SC 29902



If you are concerned about child abuse, talk to your child. Keep in mind a few guidelines to create a non-threatening environment where the child may be more likely to open up to you.

Pick your time and place carefully. Choose a space where the child is comfortable. Avoid talking in front of someone who may be causing them harm.
Be aware of your tone. A casual, non-threatening, tone will help put the child at ease and ultimately provide you with more accurate information.
Talk to your child directly. Ask questions that use the child’s own vocabulary, but that are a little vague. For example, “Has someone been touching you?” In this context “touching” can mean different things, but it is likely a word the child is familiar with. Understand that abuse can be very confusing for a child, so asking if someone is “hurting” them may not bring out the information that you are looking for.
Listen to your child. Allow the child to talk freely without interruptions or excessive questions. 
Reassure your child. Make sure that the child knows that they are not in trouble. Let them know you are simply asking questions because you are concerned about them.
Be patient. Remember that this conversation may be very frightening for the child. Many perpetrators make threats about what will happen if someone finds out about the abuse. 

 What should I do if my child tells me that something has happened to them?

Your reaction will have a big effect on how your child deals with trauma. Children whose caregivers are supportive, heal more quickly. To be supportive, it is important to:

Stay calm. Hearing your child has possibly been abused is hard. Controlling your own emotions can help your child share. Avoid asking too many questions at this time.
Believe your child. Let your child know they are not to blame and brave for telling.
Protect your child. Keep your child away from the alleged abuser.
Immediately report. It is important to contact law enforcement as soon as possible to protect your child and others.
Reassure your child. Tell your child that they are loved. Don’t make promises you can’t keep such as, “I won’t tell anyone.” Assure your child that you will do everything you can to protect them.

To report possible abuse, call 

Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office 843-524-2777 or 911 if an emergency

 For additional guidance, call

Child Abuse Prevention Association (CAPA) 843-524-4350 or visit www.capabeaufort.org


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