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Oconee Co. Elementary Principal Arrested

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Mugshot: Oconee Co. Detention Center Mugshot: Oconee Co. Detention Center
SENECA, S.C. - Blue Ridge Elementary Principal, Idasa Cobb has been arrested on charges of failure to report child abuse or neglect, according to the Oconee County Detention Center.

Cobb was arrested by Seneca Police. 

Cobb was placed on administrative leave with pay earlier this week, according to the Oconee County District Office.

Cobb has since submitted a letter of resignation to the school district.

The Oconee County Sheriff's Office incident report says Cobb was notified by phone that a child was being sexually assaulted on March 28. Cobb was meeting with two assistant principals at the time. She told them what had been reported and she would take care of it.

The incident report states Cobb didn't call law enforcement or the Department of Social Services until April 1. The arrest warrant states Cobb failed to report information "which gave her reason to believe that a child has been or may have been abused or neglected."

Cobb was booked Thursday at the Oconee County Detention Center. She faced Judge Simmons. She was given a $5,000 bond. She was released Thursday afternoon.

The statement from the Oconee County School District says the abuse allegations do not involve a district employee and they are not alleged to have happened at the school. The district says they are fully cooperating with law enforcement and cannot comment further as the investigation is ongoing.

Kathy Eichler will serve as interim principal for the time being. Eichler had served previously as Blue Ridge Elementary's principal.

7 On Your Side contacted abuse prevention and treatment experts at the Julie Valentine Center in Greenville. Director Shauna Galloway-Williams said that there are certain occupations that are required by law to report abuse. Childcare workers, teachers and principals are part of that group. 

The Children's Law Center says other mandatory reporters include doctors, nurses, dentists, coroners, EMS workers, public assistance workers, childcare workers, foster parents, police, law enforcement, funeral home directors, film processors, computer technicians, judges and clergy.

The person who first hears of the abuse must be the one to file the report.  Anyone who suspects abuse is encouraged to report it Williams and the Law Center said. 

Wether the mandatory reporter makes the report to DSS or to law enforcement depends upon the identity of the alleged perpetrator of the abuse. If the alleged abuser is a parent, guardian it must be in the county where the child lives or was found. Otherwise any law enforcement official

Galloway-Williams said the person reporting the alleged abuse does not mean that same person also has to investigate abuse, it simply means the Department of Social Services or law enforcement officials can begin an investigation to look in to the matter. 

"The reality of it is we are adults, mandated reporters are professionals that they have access to children knowledge of children and it's our responsibility ethically and legally," said Galloway-Williams. 

She said it's important to recognize the warning signs such as an adult wanting to be alone with children behind closed doors or in private places like a bathroom. 

Galloway-Williams said a child being abused may also exhibit signs of distress or disconnection. They may let their grades fall or change their routine and become disheveled.
 
Galloway-Williams said their organization along with the Children's Law Center is working to train Greenville County School employees and the public. They will hold an event on April 16th. 

April is also Child Abuse Prevention month. In recognition of this, an event called Shining Light on the Darkness will be held Taylor's Public library on Wednesday April 23 from 6-8pm. 
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