13 people dead, 4 still missing after duck boat capsizes at Table Rock Lake

Independence school staff member charged for alleged sexual contact with 3 students

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- An Independence school staff member is now facing charges after allegedly having sexual contact with three students, prosecutors say.

Robert Bluett III has been charged with two felony counts of sexual contact with three students in Jackson County. Independence School District said Bluett, who was a substitute teacher, coach and paraprofessional for the high school, no longer works for the district.

Court documents say in March, the Children's Division contacted Independence police about a sex offense involving the the 22-year-old William Chrisman High School substitute teacher and a student.

Robert Bluett

Police said they contacted a school administrator who said a student had reported her friend told her she had allegedly been receiving inappropriate texts from Bluett.

Investigators then contacted the mother of the victim, who said her daughter denied the inappropriate text messages, according to court documents.

Police continued to investigate. When interviewing Bluett, the 22-year-old initially denied the allegations. Investigators told him they had sent a subpoena for his Facebook records. Court records say Bluett then told police he did have some sexual conversations with the student.

He said investigators would not find any nude photos but would find a photo of the student in a bathing suit. According to court records, Bluett said he and the student never met outside of school and he didn't know the girl went to William Chrisman until the allegations were reported.

Police again contacted the victim's mother who said her daughter had confirmed what Bluett told police. The girl said she met Bluett at the high school, and he asked for her Facebook and Snapchat information. According to court documents, the student said Bluett later allegedly asked for nude photos, which she sent via Snapchat.

Bluett was then taken back into police custody and admitted to police that he had received the nude photos. He told police he had hidden them in a fake calculator app but had deleted them when called in to the district's administrative office, court documents say.

Police said Bluett told investigators he also had sexual contact with two other William Chrisman students, and he had oral sex with both students -- one incident happened on school property; the other happened off school property. According to court documents, Bluett received nude photos from both those students as well.

An Independence School District spokesperson released the following statement:

“When an allegation was reported to a staff member, the district followed protocol and immediately reported this to the Missouri Children’s Division. The district takes student safety very seriously and the accused individual is no longer working for the Independence School District.”