RICHMOND — An AmeriCorps volunteer allegedly sent at least one Madison Middle School student sexually explicit text messages for nearly a month while he worked as a teacher’s assistant and athletics coach at the school, according to the Madison County Sheriff’s Department.
Deputies say Brandon Clay Rousey of Richmond sent more than 100 text messages to a 13-year-old, requesting sexual favors.
The content of the messages “would shock the conscience of an adult, let alone a 13-year-old,” Madison County Sheriff Nelson O’Donnell said.
There is no indication that any sexual acts occurred between Rousey and the student, he said.
The students said Rousey may have also had similar communications with seven or eight other girls at the school, said Detective Steve King of the Madison County sheriff’s office.
Rousey, 23, was arrested Monday afternoon and charged with unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual or other prohibited activities. He is being held at the Madison County jail on a $5,000 cash bond.
The sheriff’s department began to investigate allegations against Rousey after two sets of parents contacted the department Sunday about Rousey’s relationship with their 13-year-old daughters. One of the girls had confided in a friend about the messages, and the friend told her own mother about them, King said.
Deputies brought Rousey in Monday for questioning, and he confessed to sending explicit text message to one of the teenagers, O’Donnell said.
Rousey also had contact with the girls through Facebook and MySpace, but the content didn’t seem to be sexual, O’Donnell said. The sheriff’s department has sent Rousey’s cell phone and computer to Kentucky State Police in Frankfort for review. It could take as long as three weeks before the department receives information about the contents, King said.
Rousey began to send messages at the end of October, O’Donnell said. The student involved sent text messages back to Rousey, but it is unclear who initiated the correspondence, he said.
Phone records show that Rousey sent some messages during school hours, O’Donnell said.
During interrogation, O’Donnell said, he asked Rousey why he didn’t tell the student to stop sending him messages or inform an administrator.
“He just thought it was one of those things that would quit,” O’Donnell said.
Information from the girls who have been interviewed indicates that there could be as many as eight girls at the school who had similar contact with Rousey, King said. But no one else had come forward as of Tuesday.
“I think some of the girls will be reluctant to come out about it,” King said.
King said Rousey was a popular assistant at the school. He coached basketball and football in some capacity for a few years before becoming a language-arts teacher’s assistant Oct. 1, King said.
“It seems like he was well liked by the girls,” King said.
Rousey worked at Madison Middle as an AmeriCorps volunteer through Eastern Kentucky University. The AmeriCorps program is a domestic version of the Peace Corps. The mission of EKU AmeriCorps, according to its Web site, is to “connect schools and communities in meaningful literacy and drug education programs and to promote the ethic of community service.”
“By no means should we allow this particular situation to mar the image of AmeriCorps,” said EKU spokesman Marc Whitt. “It has established throughout its tenure a strong, outstanding reputation for its service to communities.”
EKU AmeriCorps has a strong presence at Madison Middle in an effort to help raise the school’s performance, said Erin Stewart, Madison County Schools spokeswoman.
The Madison County school system is conducting its own investigation of the charges against Rousey.
“While Madison County Schools cannot comment on confidential student and staff information, I would like to be clear that the safety and well-being of each of our students is a paramount responsibility that we take very seriously,” Superintendent Tommy Floyd said in a statement.