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An investigation into an alleged inappropriate relationship between a student and teacher at Strom Thurmond High School has led to charges being filed against an employee of Strom Thurmond High School for Sexual Battery with a Student. According to reports filed by the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office, the nearly six week investigation into this matter began when a 17 year old female student at the school confided in a guidance counselor that she and the accused, whose position at the school is defined as a paraprofessional, had entered into a relationship. At that time, the relationship was characterized by a date to Evans, GA as well as multiple texts and phone calls. The guidance counselor immediately notified STHS Principal, Jill Jett, who then contacted the ECSO.
The girl’s phone was confiscated as evidence and subsequently a search warrant for her phone records was issued. While the girl initially denied any inappropriate relationship with the accused, when pressed as to whether or not any calls had passed between the two, she admitted there had been one phone call in which she was trying to get the accused to tutor her.
After a meeting with an ECSO investigator, the student and her mother, at which the two were informed of the impending search of her cell phone records, the student provided the investigator with the accused’s cell phone number but continued to deny any personal relationship with the teacher.
The teen’s phone records, however, yielded repeated texts messages from a recurring number. Reportedly the number showed up numerous times between Dec. 6 and Dec. 14 (when the girl’s phone was confiscated) with contact between the two numbers lasting sometimes all through the night. When the investigator called the number he was met with an answering machine greeting by the accused. The investigator left a message for the accused to contact him; that call has reportedly yet to be returned.
The teen’s mother was contacted with this information and another meeting was established between the three. However, later that same day, the mother called to inform investigators that her daughter had confessed to the illicit relationship.
The subsequent meeting led to the student confessing to the ECSO investigator that she did have an inappropriate physical relationship with the accused. The student maintained that while they did meet at different places around the STHS campus, the relationship was consummated at a site off school grounds. The student further maintained it was a one-time-affair, so to speak.
For his part, the accused did not respond to repeated attempts by the ECSO during the investigation to contact him. However, he must have been aware of the investigation, as, according to the teen’s statement, he asked her to not say or admit to anything. He allegedly even offered to pay the girl’s bond and get her out of jail if she was arrested.
The investigation into this matter is on-going. Attempts are being made to gain a response from the school in regards to this matter. The Advertiser will post updates as warranted.
The Advertiser spoke with Mrs. Jill Jett, Principal of Strom Thurmond High School, Friday afternoon regarding the arrest of an STHS teacher for an inappropriate relationship with a student. While she declined to expound on the exact nature of the teacher’s position at the school, she did say the teacher was a teaching assistant who she described as being “very busy within the school.”
Mrs. Jett said that while she and the district feel the teacher in question is innocent until proven guilty, he has been suspended and is not allowed back on school grounds. She went on to commend the Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office in their handling of the investigation into this matter. Mrs. Jett called their work “very professional” and said their were “extremely helpful to us.”
The Advertiser has made repeated attempts to get a comment from the district level on this mater, but our calls have not yet been returned.