72-year-old school volunteer accused of sexually-abusing 5-year-old girl in Medford
WHITE CITY, Ore. - A Medford man faces accusations he "sexually touched" a 5-year-old girl while volunteering at Lower Table Rock Elementary School, the Jackson County Sheriff's Office said.
Detectives arrested Jerry Duane Lodge, 72, on Friday, two days after the abuse allegations first surfaced.
Jail records indicate Lodge is being held on $1 million bail on charges of first degree sex abuse and first degree sexual penetration.
"Lodge was in the classroom through the Foster Grandparent Program facilitated by Community Volunteer Network, a division of Pacific Retirement Services," the sheriff's office said in a statement. "The program places senior volunteers in classrooms throughout the Rogue Valley. Participants must pass a criminal background check."
Pacific Retirement Services and the Jackson County School District #9 prevented Lodge from having further contact with children after the allegations December 6, the sheriff's office said. The district and group have cooperated with investigators.
School officials on Monday "are sending a notice to all parents in the child's classroom. It includes guidelines to help parents speak with their children, as well as information about how to make a report in the event their child discloses abuse," the sheriff's office said in a statement. "The school district will also offer an opportunity for those parents to meet with school officials and detectives later this week."
Lodge also volunteered in classrooms at McLoughlin Middle School and Kids Unlimited in Medford during the 2017 calendar year, the sheriff's office said. "No allegations of abuse by Lodge have been reported at those locations," according to investigators.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Detective Jason Penn at (541) 770-8925.