ROSWELL, Ga. — The Roswell Police Department wants the public's help finding potential victims of a former metro Atlanta teacher. Robert Vandel, 63, of Canton is accused of sexually assaulting a former student last year.
Vandel worked at Fulton Academy of Science and Technology (FAST) Charter School in Roswell, before working as a teacher at Lyndon Academy in Holly Springs, where he was arrested in September.
Officer Tim Lupo told 11Alive the department has heard from many other victims and he believes there are more that have not yet had the courage to come forward.
"We wanna continue to spread a wide net and make sure that we’re capturing every victim in this case and making sure their stories are being told," he said.
Lupo acknowledged it would be a difficult conversation to have with younger children and encouraged parents to have an open dialogue if they believe their child was hurt.
11Alive's Karys Belger also spoke with a local counselor, India Harris. Harris is a licensed counselor with the Georgia Psychological Treatment Center.
She says it's important for children to feel they are in a safe environment to talk about what may have happened to them. If parents are concerned, Harris says there are behavior to watch out for.
"Any behavior that seems out of the norm or out of proportion to what is currently happening in their life that you are aware of," Harris said.
Changes in eating and sleep patterns in addition to mood changes are just a few of the things parents should be aware of. When having the conversation, Harris says the most important thing is to make sure children know they're supported.
"Give them a safe space to discuss what has happened and to discuss, and process that trauma...understanding that their experience and even the information that they’re aware of may be very different from what you’re aware of."
What's most important is to report a crime if one has taken place. Harris also emphasized the importance of making sure children are in contact with local counseling resources like the ones available at school.
Anyone with information about Vandel can contact the Roswell Police Department at (770) 640-4100. Anonymous information can also be provided to Crime Stoppers Greater Atlanta at (404) 577-8477 or by going to www.StopCrimeATL.org.