CARBONDALE - Boys & Girls Club administrators knew about their former employee Herbert Brooks' arrest in 2009 on aggravated battery.
Instead of firing him, they tried to help Brooks by providing counseling services and other assistance.
Brooks was arrested earlier this month by Carbondale police on criminal sex charges accusing him of felonious acts with minors that allegedly occurred in March and April 2.
He is incarcerated in Jackson County Jail on bond amounts of $500,000 and $25,000. His preliminary hearing for both charges is 8:30 a.m. April 21.
"During the course of his four-year employment with us, we had done three background checks. We knew he had been arrested. The merits of the case seemed to support the notion of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I made a decision to keep him on the staff," said Executive Director Randy Osborn of the Boys & Girls Club of Carbondale about Brooks' first arrest for striking a woman in the face with his fists.
Brooks got a conditional discharge sentence from the court in October 2009 and was ordered to pay a fine. He was eventually let go from his job at the Boys & Girls Club in April 2010 for job performance issues such as punctuality, Osborn said.
Brooks had initially come to the Boys & Girls Club years earlier as a regular club member. He soon volunteered his help and helped the civic organization form a basketball league. His Carbondale upbringing was a case example of how Boys & Girls Clubs are needed in communities, Osborn said, noting Brooks had positive ways with kids and was a favorite among the staff.
"There was nothing to indicate things were going or soon would be going wrong," Osborn said.
Osborn said staff members, many kids and friends are saddened by recent news concerning Brooks.
"We really wanted him to succeed in life," Osborn said.
The club will provide intervention and support services for family members, staff and kids, Osborn said.