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Metro Atlanta teacher accused of rape denied bond in first court hearing

Roswell Police began investigating after officers took a report that a middle school student, under the age of 14, had been assaulted by a former teacher.

ROSWELL, Ga. — Metro Atlanta teacher Robert Allen Vandel, who is accused of rape, has been denied bond in his first Fulton County court appearance Friday. 

Vandel, 63, was arrested for rape, molestation, and other criminal charges by Roswell Police Thursday at his work at Lyndon Academy in Holly Springs. 

Roswell Police began investigating after officers took a report that a middle school student, under the age of 14, had been assaulted by a former teacher.

According to the police department, the assault occurred while Vandel was at his former school, the Fulton Academy of Science and Technology (FAST) Charter School in Roswell, in early 2020. 

Warrants from Fulton County claim Vandel was having online chats with several students while at FAST. Additionally, the warrants stated Vandel's classroom used to be in a trailer outside of the main building, and several students were seen going to the trailer during recess, lunch, and after school. 

The warrants also allege Vandel kept roaches, lizards, and a hedgehog in his classroom to encourage students to spend time there when they weren't in class. He also is alleged to have given students candy and ice cream when they visited his classroom.

"Vandel's classroom was moved into the main school building so that his classroom would not be so isolated," the warrant stated. 

Vandel was either fired or resigned from FAST, according to the warrant. 

He then began working at the Lyndon Academy in Holly Springs as a math, science, and engineering teacher. Investigators found he currently keeps animals in his classroom and gives students candy and ice cream, according to the warrant. 

Credit: Fulton County
Robert Vandel

"As that investigation has continued to progress, our detectives feel that there is a potential that there may be additional victims of Mr. Vandel's," Roswell Police Public Information Officer Tim Lupo said.

Investigators are currently working with both of the schools to gather more information about Vandel's past. 

"We do recognize that we're dealing with school-aged children, and we understand that people of that age group may not know how to best advocate for themselves as victims," Lupo said. "We just encourage parents, guardians, educators in those spheres of influence around those children to have those frank and direct conversations with them."

Roswell Police are encouraging victims to come forward and contact the police department at (770) 640-4100. Anonymous tips can also be provided to Crime Stoppers Great Atlanta at (404) 577-8477 or online.

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