ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Guilderland police arrested a longtime childcare provider and former school district employee for allegedly engaging in a sex act with a young child.
Police said the 48-year-old was babysitting the toddler, and the two were visiting the playground at Westmere. Police said the parent’s child called them when they realized something was wrong.
Hockenbury has worked closely with children for 30 years.
He was first employed in 1988 by the Guilderland School District as a cafeteria monitor and teacher’s aide. He worked on-and-off at Guilderland, Pine Bush and Lynwood Elementary Schools until resigning in November.
The district said they never received any complaints, and he passed a rigorous background check when he returned last fall.
“We have communicated with parents,” Guilderland Schools Superintendent Dr. Marie Wiles said. “Students are bringing home a letter [Wednesday]. Included in that letter are some tips for parents to talk with their children.”
Hockenbury is also involved in the religious community. He teaches catechism at Christ The King Church.
His resume also includes Maple Leaf Childcare on Carman Road, the YMCA’s Y-Time program, the University at Albany’s daycare facility, and running a private babysitting service.
During a press conference on Wednesday, police said they are concerned there are other victims.
“Cause you don’t know,” Guilderland Police Deputy Chief Curtis Cox said. “A child would have to come forward, and that’s not always easy.”
NEWS10 ABC went to Hockenbury’s Guilderland Center apartment to give him an opportunity to defend himself. He said he could not speak and that he no longer has his own babysitting service.
Hockenbury also had plenty of contact with the public. He was a longtime member of the Fort Hunter and other area fire departments volunteering as a firefighter and EMT.
Guilderland schools released the following statement on its website Tuesday night:
April 19, 2016—The Guilderland Central School District was informed late today that a former employee was arrested by the Town of Guilderland Police Department for an incident that occurred on Saturday, April 16 on the grounds of Westmere Elementary School on charges of a criminal sexual act with a child under the age of 11, a class B felony. Police say the child involved was not a Guilderland student.
The former employee, James Hockenbury, most recently worked on a part-time basis as a temporary cafeteria monitor from September 8 to November 13, 2015, at Lynnwood Elementary School. He was also employed by the district and assigned to at least two other elementary school buildings during the 1990’s. The district is working to confirm his dates of prior employment.
District administration confirms that appropriate protocol was followed during the recent hiring process, which included state and federal fingerprint clearance conducted by the New York State Education Department. As is the case with all employees, this part-time employee was under the direct supervision of building administration.
The safety and well-being of our students is always the highest priority in our schools. If parents have any questions or concerns regarding this incident, they should contact Superintendent Dr. Marie Wiles at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 518-456-6200. Anyone with information that would be helpful to the police investigation, should contact the Guilderland Police Department at 518-356-1501 x 1063.