By Sam Stanton
In a brief but emotional appearance outside the Sacramento Superior Courthouse this morning, Robert B. Adams, who has been named as the focus of a wide-ranging child molestation investigation in Citrus Heights, said he was "shocked" at the allegations and insisted they are not true.
Adams, 60, who for years has run a respected private preschool and elementary school in Citrus Heights, is being investigated by Citrus Heights police on allegations he molested numerous children over a number of years.
During a press conference this morning, he held hands with his wife and daughters as they wept quietly before a bank of cameras and reporters. Adams spoke only briefly.
"I want to thank the many supporters that have come forward during this difficult time. I am shocked at the allegations that have been made against me and the school, but I welcome a full investigation," he said.
"I am sad, mostly, for the trauma this has created for these children, closing the school in this manner. But I assure you I'm very confident that nothing inappropriate has happened. I am innocent. Thank you."
His attorney, Linda Parisi, repeated her claims that there is nothing to the allegations.
Adams school, Creative Frontiers, was shut down Monday by authorities over the allegations, but he has not been charged or arrested.
Parisi said she believes much of the case stems from claims by a former school receptionist, Irma Mertens, who reported Adams to state officials. Parisi contends that Mertens acted in retaliation after she found out she would not be given a fulltime job at Creative Frontiers, where she had worked for more than a year through funding from another organization.
Mertens told state Department of Social Services investigators that she walked in on Adams last summer in the school office and caught him fondling a young child. According to the state's investigative report, a former parent at the school also reported earlier this year that his child said Adams had touched her in a private area.
Molestation investigation shuts Citrus Heights private school - July 19, 2011