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Local man arrested on child molestation charges

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

The Clayton County Police Department has arrested a Riverdale man suspected of molesting an out-of-county minor.

Adrian Zakaluzny, 63, has been charged with child molestation and aggravated sexual battery, according to Lt. Rebecca Brown, police spokesperson.

Brown said the arrest came after a minor reported an alleged incident of molestation at Zakaluzny's home on Roundtree Drive in Riverdale, sometime "in the last year."

She said the victim is male. Police believe the man, who has worked for 15 years mentoring in several public school systems, may have molested other children.

Brown said she did not know the extent of Zakaluzny's relationship with the minor, but said the minor described him as a "mentor" who had, in the past, volunteered in Clayton County Public schools.

A forensic interview conducted by police investigators on the day of Zakaluzny's arrest revealed that he may have also worked as a volunteer in schools in Butts, Monroe, and Spalding counties, she added.

"He had mentored in several schools," said Brown. "They are thinking that there may be more children involved, so that is why they are putting the picture out there."

Zakaluzny passed a criminal background check and successfully completed training to be a volunteer mentor in 1998, said Charles White, a spokesperson for Clayton Schools. He said mentors assist students with math, reading, or other subjects. Zakaluzny worked between 1998 and 2002, White said.

White said a school system inquiry is being conducted "to see if there is any information that may aid the police in their investigation."

Representatives from school systems in Spalding and Butts counties confirmed that Zakaluzny had volunteered in their districts. Ellen Glidewell, human resource specialist for Butts County Public Schools, said Zakaluzny completed the school system's volunteer training in March 2008.

"Everybody goes through the same process, if they want to help with a book fair, field trips, etcetera," she said. "He was never employed with Butts County Schools. He was an approved volunteer, so he did volunteer in our schools."

Dr. Curtis Jones, assistant superintendent of the Griffin-Spalding County School System, said, "We are aware that Mr. Zakaluzny volunteered a few years ago at Atkinson Elementary School.

"As soon as we learned about the arrest, we contacted the Clayton County Police Department ... to tell them we will assist them in any way we can," he said.

Jackson Daniel, assistant superintendent for support services for Monroe County Schools, said Zakaluzny was not in the school system's records as a volunteer, or an employee.

"We have checked our records and we don't have a record of this gentleman ever being any kind of mentor, or official volunteer with us," he said. "With the mentors, we do a screening process through Big Brothers and Big Sisters [of Metro Atlanta]. He wasn't on that list."

On Thursday, Zakaluzny was being held in the Clayton County Jail on $20,000 bond. Brown said the police are making his face public, in hopes that other people will share testimonies with the police.

"Even if he wasn't in the schools, if he is out there preying on little boys, he could be out there at an event with a lot of little kids," said Brown. "Clayton is checking to see if he has been in any of their schools, but the appeal is to the public."

Staff writer Curt Yeomans contributed to this article.