SPRINGFIELD – A former school resource officer is indicted for allegedly paying for sex acts from a student.
Rodney Groth, 45, allegedly paid a 17-year-old student to “fondle her breasts” according to an indictment filed by a Grand Jury in Sangamon County. The indictment shows the alleged sex acts began while he was a school resource officer for Lanphier High School.
Lanphier parent Malou McQuillan was in disbelief someone in charge of keeping students safe could do this.
“To do that to any student is just heartbreaking and very appalling,” McQuillan said. “I’m just shocked and appalled I was that a person who is in a position of trust could do such a thing.”
The indictment shows Groth allegedly engaged in the sex crimes from January to November in 2014. He left his post in May 2014 due to budget cuts. He was put on administrative leave from the Springfield Police Department in December 2015 when the allegations came to light. The investigation was turned over to the Illinois State Police.
Groth faces five counts including one count of aggravated criminal sex abuse, two counts of solicitation of a sex act, and two counts for official misconduct. The top count faces a potential prison sentence of 3-7 years.
Sangamon County State’s Attorney John Milhiser said Groth faces a steeper charge for criminal sex abuse because of his position at the school.
“He is using that position, that trust or authority, or supervision that he has as a school resource officer when these crimes were committed,” Milhiser said.
Springfield Police fired Groth at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, and he turned himself in to the Sangamon County Jail shortly after.