Habersham Ninth Grade Academy teacher charged with statutory rape of student | #teacher | #children | #kids

Investigators have charged a former Habersham Ninth Grade Academy teacher with six criminal felonies for allegedly engaging in a sexual relationship with a student.

Leslie Terrell, 34, of Clarkesville, is charged with statutory rape and child molestation, among other charges, in connection with the alleged relationship. She resigned from her job as a Special Education teacher at the school on March 8 after the school system launched an investigation into text messages she allegedly sent the student.

“At the time of her resignation, there was no evidence of sexual misconduct,” says Habersham County Superintendent of Schools Matthew Cooper.

The Habersham County Sheriff’s Office says the school system contacted its investigators about the texts on March 19.

“The investigation has uncovered that at some point during the ethics investigation or following her resignation, the teacher progressed the relationship with the student from one of just inappropriate messaging to a physical, sexual relationship,” says Habersham Sheriff’s Lt. Matthew Wurtz.

Sheriff’s investigators secured arrest warrants for the former teacher on March 26. They charged Terrell – who is not related to Habersham Sheriff Joey Terrell – with a total of ten counts. Additional felonies include enticing a child, sexual assault by a person with supervisory or disciplinary authority, influencing a witness, and making false statements. Investigators also charged Terrell with four misdemeanor counts of obstruction/hindering law enforcement, distributing obscene materials, electronically furnishing obscene materials to a minor, and interference with custody.

As of late Friday morning, deputies had not arrested Terrell. Chief Investigator Major Murray Kogod told Now Habersham officers were working to get her into custody. It is unclear whether she has an attorney.

Cooper says the school system has cooperated fully with the Sheriff’s Office in its investigation and has reported the matter to the Professional Standards Commission of Georgia which is the agency responsible for statewide teacher certification. He says school officials are “developing a plan for ensuring the well-being of the student,” but declines further comment citing the student’s privacy and ongoing investigation.

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