ANDERSON, S.C. (WSPA) – A special education assistant was arrested and charged Sunday with criminal sexual conduct with a minor in Anderson, South Carolina.

According to the Anderson Police Department, officers responded at 11:24 p.m. to Re-Birth of a Nation Hebrew Church for criminal sexual conduct.

Police arrested and charged Marcus Fulton Simmons with criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

According to arrest warrants, Simmons did engage in sexual battery with a 6-year-old between October 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021 at a different location.

Marcus Simmons was employed as a special education assistant at New Prospect Elementary School but was terminated Monday, according to the Assistant District Superintendent for Anderson District 5.

“Once we found out that he had been arrested and charged, the principal reached out to the classroom that he worked in, because obviously the parents of children who would’ve been near this individual would want to know first foremost, “said Kyle Newton, Assistant Superintendent for Anderson School District Five.

Newton said Simmons worked at the school for a few months. He said Simmons did not have any HR issues in the past.

“We have over 2,000 employees, they all have to pass background checks, and do all of that–run through SLED their information,” Newton said. “So everybody has to go through the same thing. There were no red flags or anything,” Newton said.

Abuse advocates have seen an increase in cases and calls.

Foothills Alliance provides treatment to victims and survivors of sexual assault in Anderson and Oconee Counties. Executive Director Chelsea Hucker said they’ve seen an increase in need of their services.

“We have seen an increase across the board in all of our services, with the only decrease in emergency room visitations,” Hucker said. “In our clinical department, we have seen a record number of referrals. We saw 279 last year, verses the year before, where we received, 88,” she said. “It was a really big jump this past year,” she said.

Now Hucker is asking people to pay attention to the signs.

There are always signs. It could be easy to miss, especially in children–especially a child who may be non-verbal or who might be shy to begin with,” Hucker said. “Children don’t often have the words to describe what is happening to them nor should they.” she said.

Hucker said it’s important to look out for changes in a child’s behavior, mood and personality.

“If you see something that seems suspicious listen to your gut. Listen to the children in your life. You know them best, and you are best in a position to help them,” Hucker said.

Anderson Police Chief Jim Stewart said this is an ongoing investigation.