The substitute teacher arrested this week after admitting to “fondling himself” in a Fairfield middle school classroom has taught in dozens of school buildings around Butler and Warren counties.
The personnel file for Tracey J. Abraham, 41, contained no complaints regarding his work in the schools. Most of his substitute teaching jobs were in Butler County, according to a review of those documents by the Journal-News.
Besides Fairfield, Abraham, of Cincinnati, also taught in Lakota, Hamilton, Edgewood, Monroe, Middletown and Butler Tech classrooms in the last year. In Warren County during the same period, he taught in Springboro and Little Miami schools.
He worked a total of 141 school days in 2018, according to records. The Journal-News was the only media outlet to review Abraham’s teaching background following Tuesday’s incident.
INITIAL REPORT: Substitute teacher accused of performing sex act on himself in classroom
Fairfield police responded on Tuesday morning to Creekside Middle School on Nilles Road in Fairfield after receiving complaints from several students and a staff member about Abraham allegedly performing a sex act on himself while in the classroom. He was arrested and charged with public indecency, a first-degree misdemeanor, after he admitted to “fondling himself” on the outside of his pants, according to a police report.
Abraham told police he was looking at explicit photos on his phone and “fondled himself four or five times over the course of an hour” but he was never exposed, according to the report.
A 13-year-old female student recorded the behavior on her phone, which showed Abraham doing the act “while sitting behind the teacher’s desk at the front of the room and looking at his cell phone.” Police say the classroom was filled with middle school students at this time.
Gary Amann, a grandparent of a Creekside student who was in Abraham’s classroom at the time the alleged incident, said she told Amann “two or three (classmates) were videoing (Abraham).”
“I found it totally unbelievable that anybody would actually do something like that in front of children,” Amann said.
Creekside parent Myron Greene said, “you cannot ever think about doing something like that a school or in public. If you want to do something like that, stay at home.”
Abraham was arraigned Tuesday afternoon in Fairfield Municipal Court, and his case was continued. He is scheduled to re-appear in court on Tuesday morning, and has been ordered to stay away from children under 18.
The Ohio Department of Education renewed Abraham’s substitute teaching license in June, according to documents obtained through a public records request by the Journal-News.
Abraham has taught in a wide variety of grades at dozens of school buildings in nine Butler and Warren county school districts since he first worked as a substitute instructor in 2011.
Chris Brown, superintendent of the Butler County Educational Services Center— the organization that handles the hiring and scheduling of substitute teachers in Butler County school systems — told the Journal-News Abraham had passed Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Federal Bureau of Investigation background checks when he was hired in 2012.
“He also went through a background check in 2017 and there has been nothing in his background,” Brown said.
Abraham worked 67 school days in the Lakota district; 29 in Fairfield Schools; 18 at Butler Tech, seven in Edgewood Schools; five days in Hamilton Schools and three in Middletown Schools.
Lakota, Edgewood, Hamilton and Middletown school officials said they have no records of any complaints against Abraham.
In Warren County, he worked nine days at Little Miami Schools, two at branch schools for the Warren County Educational Services and one at Springboro Schools.
Other districts that employed his services as a substitute teacher did not respond to questions regarding the existence of any complaints by Wednesday afternoon.
Abraham’s last known address was at the McCauly Crossing apartments in Sharonville, but a neighbor, Richard Martin, said he hasn’t seen him in six months, and new people moved into his apartment.
Martin and his wife were surprised when they saw the news of the man who only offered neighborly pleasantries when they saw each other.
“This is a quiet neighborhood, so no complaints as to noise or anything,” he said. “I was kind of amazed to see his picture (in news reports).”