Teacher working in Dubai arrested for soliciting sex with minor
He was arrested in US; he had reportedly spent $5,000 on a plane ticket to meet the child.
An international school in Dubai has suspended a teacher after he was arrested in the US for attempting to solicit having sex with a seven-year-old.
In a statement sent to Khaleej Times on Monday, Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai said: "Through media reports, we are aware that William Ball, a secondary teacher employed at the school, was arrested in Florida, the USA, on February 15."
The federal indictment against Ball only lists the charges and does not give details about the alleged crime, but during a hearing in a federal court in Tampa, Florida, the prosecutor revealed that Ball was using the internet and his mobile phone to meet a seven-year-old child.
According to media reports, Ball spent $5,000 (Dh18,360) for his plane ticket and traveled to the US to meet the child. When he was apprehended, US Marshals found "he was carrying items for a child, condoms and lubricant with him".
The US federal prosecutor said they have extensive internet conversations and an online history regarding the case, which is being handled by the Department of Homeland Security. Ball, who is originally from Mississippi, is now being charged with soliciting a minor for sex and child pornography.
Ball worked as a music teacher at the Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai and was previously employed by Qatar Academy in Doha.
Swiss International said: "Ball has been suspended with immediate effect pending confirmation and the outcome of the judicial process. The school informed parents and staff as well as the relevant stakeholders."
"The school would like to confirm that Ball was recruited through a reputable agency with stringent background checks in place. In addition to these checks, the school carried out its own verifications. All references also explicitly confirmed that he was suitable to work with children.
"Moreover, it is essential to underline that no related child protection concerns have been reported to the SISD Child Protection Coordinator in the case of this teacher (or any other)," the school underlined.
"We take child protection extremely seriously and a Council of International Schools visitor recently commended "the level of detail in place to ensure any person working with children or (who) has the potential of working with children, has the appropriate background checks," Swiss International added.
"The wellbeing of children at our school is our top priority. To that end, our pastoral and child protection teams are monitoring and supporting students closely. Immediately, upon returning to school, our teachers and child protection team addressed the matter with students and we continue to work very closely with our community to support children and protect their wellbeing," the school concluded.
Mohammed Darwish, Chief of Regulations and Permits Commission at Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), told Khaleej Times: "We take child protection very seriously, and we continue to work with schools to safeguard students' safety and wellbeing at all times. Every school is required to have a dedicated child protection policy in place and this reflects our commitment to ensure the welfare, health and safety of students."
Meanwhile, Khaleej Times is awaiting comments from the US Embassy on the incident.
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