Substitute teacher’s actions probed

A White Hall detective has recommended Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Kyle Hunter charge a substitute teacher with sexual assault after a police investigation indicated the woman had sexual relations with three students, according to officials.

The 44-year-old woman, who has been a White Hall School District substitute for more than two years, had not been arrested and formally charged as of noon Tuesday, said Detective Sgt. Mark Bradley.

School Superintendent Dr. Larry Smith acknowledged the woman had been a substitute teacher at the district’s junior and senior high schools since February 2010, adding she passed background checks given to all potential school employees.

Bradley said he and Police Chief Richard Wingard independently received complaints the week of March 12 from district parents that the teacher was providing intoxicants to students during parties at her residence.

After talking to “several high school students” the investigation was expanded, Bradley said, when police received information the teacher had allegedly “engaged in sexual acts with students at her home during the parties.” The detective said police interviewed 20-25 students before taking the investigative report to Hunter.

Police served a search warrant on the woman and seized “bed linens” at her residence, Bradley said, adding that the material was sent to the state Crime Lab for analysis. He said the substitute teacher, who has obtained an attorney, has not been interviewed. Bradley said he has recommended the prosecutor file one count of sexual assault in the first-degree and two counts of sexual assault in the second-degree because of the ages of the three students and the woman’s role as a substitute teacher, citing information obtained during the investigation in March.

He said the department may seek misdemeanor charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor in connection with the reports of alcohol being served at the parties attended by students.

Smith said the woman has been removed from the substitute teacher call list as a result of information the investigation revealed. He said the district has cooperated with police in the investigation.