child molestation, arrest generic

Deputies have arrested a Hamilton Family YMCA gym instructor and Hamilton County Schools instructor after several children said he fondled two girls at the gym.

According to the arrest report, the children told investigators that 53-year-old Robert Hardeman inappropriately touched two girls' bottoms and kept looking at their breasts during a youth fitness class.

Hamilton County Schools confirmed he's an Exceptional Inclusion Teacher at East Hamilton Middle School and that Hardeman has been suspended without pay.

A spokesperson with the YMCA confirmed Hardeman has been suspended from his duties at that facility as well, and said in a statement:

"We are aware of an allegation of inappropriate behavior by a YMCA staff person towards three girls in a Youth Fitness Class at our Hamilton Family YMCA. We take this, and any allegation of inappropriate conduct, very seriously. The staff person was promptly suspended from all responsibilities at the YMCA and is not permitted on our premises while the investigation is underway. The YMCA is cooperating fully with local authorities in the investigation of this matter and cannot comment any further at this time. As always, the safety of youth entrusted into our care is our top priority."

Hardeman was charged with aggravated sexual battery and is currently in the Silverdale Detention Center.