Crime & Public Safety

Teacher accused of sexually assaulting student in Hilton Head elem. school free on bond

A Hilton Head Elementary School teacher who turned himself into police Thursday morning on charges of sexually assaulting a student in the school in October spent less than seven hours in jail, public records say.

Anthony Richard Heiter, 54, of Hilton Head Island, is free on bond after being arrested and charged with third degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor, according to Beaufort County court documents. He was booked into the Beaufort County Detention Center at 6 a.m. Thursday and released at 1 p.m., according to the jail log.

His bond was set at $15,000 by Judge Mark F. Fitzgibbons, according to court documents.

Heiter is a first grade dual language Spanish immersion teacher at Hilton Head Island Elementary School. He was hired by the Beaufort County School District in July 2015, according to district spokesperson Jim Foster.

The alleged victim’s parents reported the assault to the school’s principal on Nov. 9, Foster said. Heiter was immediately removed from his position and placed on paid administrative leave, which he is still on as the investigation takes place, Foster said.

Heiter faces up to fifteen years in prison if he is convicted for the felony, according to state law.

Hilton Head Elementary School is hosting a meeting for parents at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the school’s red auditorium, principal Sarah Owen said in a letter to parents Thursday afternoon.

In addition to teaching, Heiter also works as a magician for a show called “The Magic of Anthony Heiter”, according to the rental company HHI Bounce House’s website, and plays the drums in a Lowcountry blues band called Royal Blues Machine, according to the band’s website. Both websites have been deleted since The Island Packet report on Heiter’s arrest Thursday morning.

Lana Ferguson has reported on a smorgasbord of news for The Island Packet & Beaufort Gazette since June 2018. Before coming to the Lowcountry, she worked for publications in her home state of Virginia and graduated from the University of Mississippi, where she was editor of the college’s daily newspaper.
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Maggie Angst covers education for The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette. In 2017, Maggie was named the Media Person of the Year by the South Carolina chapter of the Sierra Club. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri and grew up in the Chicago area.