Warrant says school custodian left 'inappropriate' notes for 10-year-old student

Milford police arrested a Milford school custodian on Tuesday, Sept. 9, in connection with the harassment of a grammar school student. Police say Robert Rua, 55, of Milford is alleged to have left notes and gifts on the desk of the student.

According to police, the Milford Board of Education received a complaint on Sept. 9 from a grammar school student that she was receiving notes and gifts on her desk from an unknown person who was trying to develop a personal relationship with her.

The Board of Education administrators contacted the police department to conduct an investigation because the writing and content of the written communication appeared to be that of an adult.

The Milford police special investigations unit was assigned the case and determined that the notes and gifts were being left since the beginning of the school year and that the student only reported it to her parents.

An arrest warrant states that Rua was “leaving inappropriate notes and gifts” for the 10-year-old fifth grade student.

On Sept. 9, Orchard Hills School Principal Dr. Clifford Dudley told police that a fifth grade teacher contacted him that morning and told him that several students entered their classroom in the morning and found seven puzzle boxes on their desks. The teacher said he had no idea who might have left them, so he talked to other fifth grader teachers and they did not have any in their classroom, the warrant states.

After the teacher took attendance, the 10-year-old girl went to him and said that one of the puzzle boxes was left for her. “She also handed [the teacher] a note that she said was left for her by the night custodian ‘Rob’.”

According to the warrant, the teacher read the note and then immediately notified the principal.

The note reads as follows, according to the warrant:

“Hi-U-LOL Wasn’t shore u could read my writing was trying to disguise it in case some one found my note. Hope u liked the drum I made 4 u. Got ur note I like blue, red, purple, orange, green. like Taylor Swift, I have the 6 of her songs in my ipod and I like Avril Lauigne, do u have a I Pod,? O and Frozen I loved that movie saw it 3 times, let it go, summer. Don’t want anyone to ruin it 4 us. Don’t want to loose my job. Be in big trouble Just remember when u hold that drum between the palms of ur hand and rub them together the sound you will hear is the beating of my heart. NO NAMES. Don’t forget to dispose of. Throw out tear up no one nos’ we have a good thing lets keep it that way. Flush in toilet.”

The warrant states that the principal presented the note and a sample of Rua’s handwriting on an emergency contact form to police detectives, and the detectives “did observe numerous letters which contained the same characteristics in both handwriting samples.”

Police later talked to the 10-year-old victim, who told them that on the first or second day of school she found a small wooden red toy drum inside her school desk, and a note that said “I found you.”

The girl told her parents, and said she thought the gifts might be from the night custodian. According to the warrant, her parents told her not to interact with the custodian.

A few days later she found a small wind-up bee toy inside her desk.

The girl became concerned, and left a note in her desk that said, “No more gifts,” along with the toy bee. Both were gone the next day when she went to school.

As part of the investigation, police went to Rua’s home, and Rua said he did not know anything about the gifts, the arrest warrant states.

While at Rua’s home, police noticed a puzzle box similar to the puzzle boxes found in the Orchard Hills School classroom. Police wrote in the warrant application that they also found the toy bee.

Police subsequently issued an arrest warrant for Rua after finding what they described as enough information linking Rua to the incident.

Rua was taken into custody without incident.

Rua is charged with risk of injury to a minor, second-degree harassment and disorderly conduct.

Rua appeared in court Wednesday, and his bond was set at $35,000, with the condition that he not have contact with the young student and not go to Orchard Hills School. According to court documents, a protective order was issued.

He is scheduled to appear in court again Sept. 24.

School officials released a statement after the arrest.

“On Sept. 9, 2014, upon learning of a complaint made by an Orchard Hills Elementary School student in the Milford Public School district, the administration immediately contacted the Milford Police Department to conduct an investigation into the matter,” the statement reads.

“The police investigation confirmed that a custodian at the student's school had been leaving notes and gifts on the student's desk since the beginning of the school year. The student was never approached personally by the employee,” according to the press release.

The employee was arrested by Milford police on the same day this was brought to the administration's attention, school officials said.

“The employee has been placed on administrative leave by the Milford Public Schools, pending the result of the investigation,” the school press release states. “The Milford Public Schools continues to work with the Milford Police Department on this matter.