Hamilton Police Department investigates child’s allegations

 By DAVID ERICKSON – Ravalli Republic

The Hamilton Police Department investigated allegations by a very young Hamilton School District student of inappropriate contact by a district employee two weeks ago, police chief Ryan Oster confirmed Wednesday.

However, Oster said that the investigation turned up no wrongdoing by the employee and no charges are expected to be filed.

“I would caution everybody to err on the side of caution here,” Oster said. “Not only were we not able to substantiate any of the stories, but there wasn’t a lot of substance to the story. I would just ask everyone to be real careful about spreading rumors. An allegation like this can ruin somebody’s career.

Rumors about the investigation have spread throughout the community, and resulted in numerous calls to the school district and the Ravalli Republic newspaper in recent days. However, the police chief urged restraint.

“The nature of the allegations came from a very small child, and it was very difficult to pinpoint a story,” he said. “Nothing has been substantiated, and we have not made an arrest.”

The young child was taken to Emma’s House in Hamilton, a nonprofit children’s advocacy center, to be interviewed about the allegations.

“We use Emma’s House and that model to do any forensic interviews and any forensic exams,” Oster said. “We have not been able to substantiate the story that came out. People make allegations of all kinds of things, and when it’s something of this nature it can get way out of control as far as the stories that are out there. I suppose it is fair to say that the investigation is ongoing, but we have not charged anyone with a crime and it doesn’t appear that we are going to.”

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