Former Apache Junction charter school teacher and youth minister, Bobby Kennedy, 31, received lifetime supervised probation despite his pleading guilty to attempted sexual exploitation of a minor and furnishing obscene materials to a minor.
Kennedy was accused of molesting a 15-year-old female student at Morningstar Academy Charter School, kissing her and coercing students to take naked pictures of themselves with his cell phone in 2005. He was originally arrested by Apache Junction Police (AJPD) in May 2005 charged with 2 counts of sexual exploitation of minor and 2 counts of child molestation that reportedly involved at least three female students in incidents that occurred on school property at 1105 W. Superstition Blvd.
Kennedy was held in the Pinal County Jail on $750,000 bail until June 27, 2005 at which time his bail was reduced to $150,000. Kennedy subsequently posted the reduced bail and was out on bond while authorities continued to investigate the case, which led to an additional indictment on August 11, 2005 on 22 charges including molestation, sexual abuse, aggravated assault and furnishing obscene materials to a minor.
Kennedy failed to appear for a hearing on the charges on August 23, 2005 and dropped out of sight, prompting the AJPD to put Kennedy on their “Most Wanted List” where he remained for nearly three years.
Police believed that Kennedy’s mother and principal of Morningstar Academy, Carolyn Kennedy, had prior knowledge of her son’s actions with students and also that she helped her son to flee prosecution. In 2006 Kennedy’s mother pleaded guilty for failing to report the abuse of a minor and received two years probation and a suspended 90 day jail sentence along with paying a fine of $2,500. Despite her conviction and alleged failure to help authorities locate her fugitive son, she was allowed to retain her position as principal.
After nearly three years on the lam, Kennedy was arrested by Deputy U.S. Marshals on Tuesday, March 18, 2008 in Lawton, Oklahoma where he was living with his wife and small son. On Monday, June 26, 2009 Kennedy was sentenced to lifetime supervised probation with a 180-day deferred jail sentence with 52 days already served.
When told of Kennedy’s sentence of probation, former AJPD Commander Jay Swart who was instrumental in Kennedy’s capture by the U.S. Marshall’s was incredulous saying, “What? I can’t believe that! How can anybody justify probation for someone who confessed of such grievous actions against children?”
- PROSECUTOR TO FIGHT MOLESTATION SUSPECT'S BAIL-TEACHER WHO FLED IS CAUGHT, FREED ON BAIL AGAIN. The Arizona Republic 16 May 2008 http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2008/05/16/20080516molest0516.html
- PRINCIPAL'S SON ARRESTED THREE YEARS AFTER MOM SHELTERED HIM ON MOLEST CHARGE. AZcentral.com 19 Mar 2008 http://www.azcentral.com/members/Blog/WATCHBLOG/19644
The Arizona State Board for Charter Schools refused Monday to allow a charter-school company to change its name after its owner was indicted on felony-theft charges in California.
C. Steven Cox owns Educational Administrative Services, which operates Morningstar Academy, an elementary school, in Apache Junction.
Cox was indicted Sept. 4 in San Bernardino on 56 felony counts of misappropriation of funds and 56 felony counts of grand theft while operating the now-defunct California Charter Academy, run by the for-profit Educational Administrative Services. Cox was indicted along with a Hesperia City Council member, and both pleaded not guilty.
California shut down the school in 2004 after auditors found that the owners had drained the school's coffers of millions of dollars to provide high executive salaries and perks and give questionable contracts to friends and family members.
Arizona agreed to sign a contract with Cox in 2003 to open the Apache Junction elementary charter school.
The Arizona State Board for Charter Schools on Monday tabled a request to allow Educational Administrative Services to change its name, citing the board's recent suspension of Cox's fingerprint card pending the outcome of the indictments…
The company has had money problems in Arizona. Its 2006 audit shows it was operating with "an accumulated loss of $174,050" and owed $34,882 in state and federal taxes. Its 2005 audit reported that an employee embezzled $27,640 and that financial records were missing after an attempted "hostile takeover" of the school by two employees…