Crime & Public Safety

‘Every day is going to be a bad day,’ Hilton Head student says after alleged assault by teacher, report says

The parents of a Hilton Head Island Elementary student who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a teacher inside the school in October told police they noticed an immediate change in their child’s behavior, a newly released Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office report reveals.

In the Nov. 9 report, the parents told police they saw a change in their child’s attitude about attending school for two or three weeks after the alleged incident.

“When trying to speak with the (child) about it ... (the child) commented, ‘It doesn’t matter, every day is going to be a bad day,’” the report said.

The sergeant who wrote the report noted that he scheduled a forensic interview with Hopeful Horizons, a local children’s advocacy, domestic violence and rape crisis center.

The parents met with the school’s principal the same afternoon they filed the Sheriff’s Office report. The student’s teacher, Anthony Richard Heiter, was put on paid administrative leave the next day, Beaufort County School District spokesperson Jim Foster told The Island Packet on Thursday.

Heiter, 54, of Hilton Head Island, was charged with third degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor Thursday morning and released on a $15,000 bond that afternoon, according to Beaufort County court documents. Heiter is a first grade dual language Spanish immersion teacher at Hilton Head Island Elementary School, who was hired by the district in 2015.

In accordance with their Freedom of Information Act policy, the Sheriff’s Office redacts the names and personal identifiers of all sexual assault victims and minors in reports, regardless of the nature of the incident.

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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