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Utah elementary school art teacher accused of inappropriately touching student

Aug 7, 2023, 3:26 PM

FILE: Grand County Sheriff's Office  (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)...

FILE: Grand County Sheriff's Office (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

MOAB, Utah — An art teacher in the Grand County School District was arrested over the weekend and accused of inappropriately touching a young girl.

Robert Bruce Hucko, 70, was booked into the Grand County Jail Saturday for investigation of sexual battery.

A 12-year-old girl was interviewed Friday at the Moab Children’s Justice Center, with a Grand County sheriff’s deputy also present.

“While observing the interview, the victim stated that her art coach (teacher), Robert Bruce Hucko … came into the home and remained there after he knew no adults were in the home,” a police booking affidavit states.

Hucko allegedly went to the girl’s house on Aug. 1 and looked through an art book with the children. The girl then offered to show Hucko the family art room, according to investigators. While walking to the room, the girl says Hucko “smacked her on the ‘butt,'” according to the affidavit.

“The victim was asked if Hucko had ever made her feel uncomfortable any other time and she detailed him rubbing her shoulders as she was working on a project while at school,” police said. “This is a serious sexual felony against a child. The fact that the suspect entered and remained in a home with no parents present expresses a certain aspect of daring on his part. The suspect is also a teacher with access and trust to a multitude of children in the community.”

Hucko is listed as an art coach on the Helen M. Knight Elementary School website. According to a bio on his photography website, he has been teaching art to children since 1978 in addition to being a professional landscape photographer. He has been with the Grand County School District for approximately 20 years and has been at the elementary school since it opened more than a decade ago.

“We are aware of the situation. We are taking it seriously. Student safety is our top priority and we are fully cooperating with law enforcement,” Grand County School District Superintendent Taryn Kay said Monday.

Hucko was placed on paid administrative leave on Monday pending the outcome of the investigation. The new school year for the district is scheduled to begin in about a week.

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Utah elementary school art teacher accused of inappropriately touching student