AKRON -- Akron Police arrested a middle school teacher's assistant on charges of rape involving two minors Tuesday.
D'Juan Shields, 40, is accused of raping his then-girlfriend's two daughters, who were 10 and 7 years old.
Akron Public Schools immediately suspended Shields from his job working with autistic children at Hyre Continuous Learning Center, formerly known as Hyre Middle School.
In a statement, APS spokesperson Leah Nemeth said Shields has been employed with the district since 2006.
Akron Police Lt. Rick Edwards said the alleged crimes happened from December 2011 to April 2012, but only recently did the girls come forward with the allegations.
"Oh my!" gasped Angela Jones, one of several parents who were looking up homeroom assignments posted on the doors of Hyre CLC Tuesday evening.
The school year begins Wednesday, but parents didn't like the fact that the district didn't notify them directly of the arrest, even though the alleged crimes happened in the victims' home.
"As an assistant or not, I think parents should have been notified," said parent Roger King.
"It may be an isolated incident, but he was around kids. It's unsettling."
Shields was also a former site director for the YMCA's Hale Farm summer camp. A photo of Shields, as a smiling and friendly camp counselor, appears in stark contrast to his booking photo from the Summit County Jail.
Doug Kohl, president and CEO of Akron Area YMCA, says the Y informed families involved in the program of the charges against Shields. "During Mr. Shield's employment at the Y, there has been no incidents reported or any misconduct related to the Y program," he said.
Shields' current live-in girlfriend spoke to Channel 3 News, on the condition of anonymity.
"I think he's being wrongly accused," she said.
She believes that Shields is being dragged into a nasty child custody battle between the girls' parents.
"I think the children are being coerced into saying things that are far from being true," she said.
Shields is charged with two counts of rape of a minor under 13, and three counts of gross sexual imposition of a minor. His first court hearing is Wednesday morning in Akron Municipal Court.
Akron Police say Shields has no prior criminal record, but his girlfriend fears that his reputation is already ruined, whether he's found guilty or not.
"People will wonder anyway," she said. "He's screwed."