Breathitt school administrators accused of not reporting allegation of teacher-student sex

They allegedly failed to report sex-abuse case involving teacher

bestep@herald-leader.comAugust 13, 2011 

Several Breathitt County school administrators have been accused of failing to report an allegation of sexual contact between a teacher and a female student.

A grand jury indicted Superintendent Arch Turner, David Napier, Reggie Hamilton and Michael Bowling on a charge of failing to notify police and other authorities of the alleged abuse as required by law, Commonwealth's Attorney Darrell Herald said Friday.

The charge is a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to 90 days in jail.

Herald said Bowling is a teacher. The school system's Web site identifies Napier as director of pupil personnel and Hamilton as a principal.

Herald said the events that led to the indictment allegedly took place last school year.

In a separate indictment, the grand jury charged Charles Andrew Mitchell, who was a teacher in 2010-11, with more than a dozen counts, including first-degree sexual abuse, third-degree rape, third-degree sodomy, use of an electronic device to solicit a minor for sexual contact, use of a minor in a sexual performance and distribution of obscene material, Herald said.

The charges relate to several female students, Herald said.

Mitchell is no longer a teacher, Herald said. It was not clear Friday whether he quit or was fired.

Mitchell allegedly contacted the juveniles through text messages and Facebook, Herald said.

When administrators learned of the allegations involving one girl, they acted quickly to address them. However, the school officials are accused of failing in their duty to report the alleged abuse to outside authorities, Herald said. State law mentions police, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, and a local prosecutor.

The law requiring such reporting specifically says school personnel are not authorized to do an internal investigation in lieu of the investigations it outlines.

The charge against the four school employees relates to only one student, Herald said.

There is no allegation the employees failed to report alleged improper contact between Mitchell and other students.

Allegations that Mitchell had illegal contact with other girls surfaced later as state police investigated, Herald said.

Attempts to reach Turner, Napier, Hamilton and Bowling on Friday were not successful.

Mitchell, 27, was jailed Friday in Three Forks Regional Detention Center in Beattyville.

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